Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool showed their supporters “the respect they deserve” in beating Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday night.
Anfield’s first behind-closed-doors saw the Reds move to within touching distance of a first league title in 30 years, after a performance of discipline, hunger, intensity and quality from the runaway Premier League leaders.
Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane gave the Reds their joint-biggest home league win of the campaign.
Liverpool will be crowned champions on Thursday night should Manchester City, 23 points adrift in second place, fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but Klopp was happy just to savour the excellence of his team’s display against a shell-shocked Palace.
He said: “We showed a lot, if not everything, which helped us into the position we are in.
“Before this part of the season, I said I wanted to see the best behind-closed-doors football ever. I don’t know if we had that, but for sure it was the best counter-pressing behind closed doors ever!
“The attitude, the passion we showed was exceptional, and we played some outstanding football. Usually in my job I have to calm things down and say we can improve – and we can improve – but that’s not important tonight.
“We showed our supporters the respect they deserve – that we can play like they are here even when they are not.
“Yes, they can push us to incredible things, and without them it is nothing. I never missed them more than I did tonight because imagine this game in front of 50,000 people, the emotions that would have been in the stadium. It would have been incredible!”
Klopp confirmed he would watch City’s game at home tomorrow night, but insists that he is still focused completely on his side’s remaining games – including their trip to the Etihad next week.
“I will not watch it to prepare a celebration, but because we play against City a week later!” he said.
“And we play Chelsea as well, so this game is important to watch for plenty of reasons.
“Whatever happens tomorrow, we cannot influence. But I’m pretty sure that when we play City, it is a must-watch for each football fan on this planet. Whatever is decided or not, it will be two really good teams facing each other. It will be pretty interesting, to be honest!”
For now, though, Liverpool can reflect on a job well done. Even Roy Hodgson, the Palace manager, admitted his side could not cope with the Reds’ energy, desire and relentless pressing.
“You should not underestimate how much this team wants it,” Klopp said. “This team really wants it.
“They want to fulfil the wishes of the people at home, really. We all have a common dream but we have to work for it. We have to work our way for it.
“We can’t play like other teams but we can play pretty good stuff. That is what the boys did.
“The game was exceptional. From talking about football, it was exceptional from so many points of view.
“This game will last in my mind for a while. This is where we want to be. This is what we have to show against each and everybody. This is us.”