Jurgen Klopp claims to have been “completely” unfazed by Roberto Firmino’s nine-game goal drought, with the Liverpool forward delivering when it mattered away at Crystal Palace.
Not for the first time this season, the Reds found themselves in need of late inspiration during a trip to Selhurst Park.
The Premier League leaders were in serious danger of dropping two precious points after seeing Wilfried Zaha cancel out Sadio Mane’s opener in south London.
Firmino was, however, to have the final word as he pounced five minutes from time to snatch a priceless 2-1 win and keep Liverpool eight points clear of the title-chasing pack.
That effort was the Brazilian’s first since September 22, when he netted in a 2-1 victory away at Chelsea, and only his fourth of the season.
Klopp, though, has never had any concerns regarding the 28-year-old’s contribution and value, telling reporters: “Bobby’s work rate is incredible.
“We expect a lot from the boys and I am completely fine with what I saw. For him, it is wonderful he finally gets the reward.
“We didn’t speak. I wouldn’t have a clue when he scored last time and I never thought about it.
“Who scores the goals, it is absolutely not important and you would have to ask him how he felt, but I didn’t see anything [to suggest he felt anxious].”
Klopp added on Liverpool’s showing as a collective against Palace: “We conceded a goal, nobody wanted that, but I felt in that period it was not a surprise when they scored.
“But we knew as well we would probably get a chance and we had to use it, if we don’t use it we cannot take it for granted.
“I don’t like to talk about it [scoring late], but I understand you ask it. We are not like ‘seven minutes to go, let’s start winning the game now’ so we don’t think about it.”
Firmino’s vital input against the Eagles allowed Liverpool to keep Mohamed Salah on the bench, as he seeks to shake off an ankle complaint, and keeps them on course for a first English top-flight crown in 30 years.
Not that Klopp is getting too carried away by the title talk, as he went on to say: “We are four years together. I know a lot about my team, we just know what we want and we know what we have to do for it.
“We are not the only team who knows that, but for us we know it and it’s so difficult to get 37 points from 13 games.
“If you asked me is that possible, I would say so, but now we are here, so we are critical of the performances and saying we can do better. It’s all true.
“At 3 o’clock we had to be there against a team that is really good, playing at home in a good stadium and they [Palace] fight.
“We start fighting as well and have to be ready and we were again so big, big credit for my boys, but the next one is waiting.”
Liverpool will welcome Serie A giants Napoli to Anfield on Wednesday looking to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.