Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Darwin Nunez’s “outstanding” performance as the Uruguayan scored his first Anfield goal to help the Reds beat West Ham 1-0.
The Reds made it back to back 1-0 victories in the Premier League after Sunday’s huge result at home to Manchester City.
Nunez netted for Benfica at Anfield in the Champions League last term, but his header tonight was his first at the famous stadium as a Liverpool player.
The £67.5million summer signing was not the only hero against the Hammers, with goalkeeper Alisson saving a first-half penalty from Jarrod Bowen.
Klopp heaped praise on Nunez after his winning goal, while acknowledging the crucial part Alisson played in his side getting the three points.
“I am delighted,” Klopp said. “A lot of the parts were really good.
“As long as we played football we were outstanding and caused West Ham a lot of problems but the only problem was we didn’t play this football for the whole 95 minutes and we opened it up for West Ham.
“They increased the risk by bringing on Michail Antonio and other players and they were a real threat with the long balls, all of a sudden we had to defend. We knew that, I don’t stand here thinking it should be an easy game for us, but we got the result and I think we deserved the result.
“In the end it wasn’t that luck has always been on our side but maybe today we had it, or Ali, however you want to look at it. It is three points more, massive.
“It was an outstanding penalty save. It was a really well-taken penalty, right in the corner, and I had no idea how Ali did that.
“We were a little concerned he wasn’t on the line to be honest with you, now a days you never know if you can celebrate a penalty save or not but he did that right.
“It was very important in that moment just before half time. We were really good in the first 35 minutes and played everywhere where West Ham couldn’t defend us.
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“We scored a wonderful goal and with a bit more Darwin could have had a hat-trick.
“He [Nunez] was outstanding. He is a massive talent and is only 22. He came from Portugal and he wasn’t there for long, so not too long away he was Uruguay. He is a really big talent and we’re really excited about him.”
“No complaints [on the penalty]. I’ve just seen it now, I thought Joe tried to hit the ball and he didn’t manage that and he did push the player. That is a penalty.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson said: “It was a really tough game, a tough match, the opponent gave us hard work but we did a good job to create more chances than them, especially in the first half.
“When a goalkeeper saves a penalty it is always a massive thing. I believe the responsibility is on the penalty taker, the biggest advantage is in their hands but we work hard every to be fit, strong and have a good reaction.
“I’m pleased to make the save and help the team get the win. To save a penalty I need to be fast, agile, everything. It is also a mental moment and be clear to make the right decision.”
On Nunez, Alisson added: “He scored a goal and had more chances. He helped us in the defensive phase, trying to run after the opponent and get the ball.
“He created a lot chances to score and could have scored more, but I’m happy he score his first goal at Anfield.
“He is a good lad, works hard every day and has good mentality. I’m very happy for him.”
Reds centre-half Virgil van Dijk says he was “buzzing” to get another clean sheet and mentioned the “potential” Nunez has.
“We got the win, that’s the most important thing. We’re buzzing with the clean sheet.
“They put four strikers on, Soucek went up top as well and you have to defend as good as you can. We showed that in the last game and again today.
“We play for one of the biggest clubs in the world and to have this goalkeeper with us is something we need and it was a great moment to save that penalty just before the break.
“It is important to keep a clean sheet and a produce a good performance, especially in the first half when we could have scored a second goal. It is all about the three points, especially in this hectic period.”
“I think he [Nunez] has so much potential.
“He is still young and he’s learning, he’s learning the way to play and learning English. He is a modern-day striker which causes a lot of defenders problems.
“You could see today his runs in behind and his build up play getting better. We have different weapons to try and exploit opponents, it is good.”
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