Jurgen Klopp said he “couldn’t feel better” after “exceptional” Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-1 to go top of the Premier League.
Spurs looked set to remain at the summit on goal difference with a draw, but Roberto Firmino headed a 90th-minute winner at Anfield to put the champions three points clear.
Son Heung-min equalised seven minutes after Mohamed Salah gave the injury-hit Reds a deserved first-half lead, but Firmino ended Tottenham’s 11-match unbeaten run in the top flight.
Spurs felt the Brazil striker’s winner should have been ruled out for a foul by Jordan Henderson on Eric Dier before Firmino rose to meet Andy Robertson’s header and words were exchanged between Jose Mourinho and Klopp after the final whistle.
Steven Bergwijn hit the post and missed another glorious chance in the second half, while Harry Kane headed another good opportunity over the crossbar.
Liverpool were good value for a seventh home win out of seven in the Premier League, though, Sadio Mane rattling the crossbar as they had 17 shots – 11 of which were on target – to Tottenham’s eight, as well as 76 per cent of the possession.
Klopp said: “Playing a game like this tonight is absolutely exceptional. We deserved three points against a top side. Organisationally, it’s so difficult to play against them with the counter-attacking threat they have. I liked the game a lot.
“I really think we deserved the three points. I know they had chances, they scored a goal. Unbelievably tight offside decision [for Son’s leveller], we are really not lucky with these moments.”
There’s something that the Kop wants you to know…pic.twitter.com/I3b006ADSH
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 16, 2020
Liverpool are unbeaten in 66 Premier League matches at Anfield, where there was an emotional minute’s applause to the late Gerard Houllier before kick-off.
Klopp felt it was too early to declare his side had made a statement by winning the battle between the top two, but felt it was a huge victory.
He said: “I don’t think we struggle with confidence, we just don’t think about it. We are a good football team but we are in a difficult situation [with a long injury list], everyone knows that.
“Throwing in a performance like this in pretty special, it gives us confidence but in 60-something hours we play again and we have to be ready for Crystal Palace. We will try and in this moment I couldn’t feel better.”
Klopp added: “I can understand why people might think it [the nature of the win] was similar to last season, but first and foremost in was one of the best performances for a while.
“We had a few good games, Wolves was a top game. We play quite good football from time to time and that’s why we have the amount of points we have. We don’t compare it really to last season but it was the performance we needed tonight for a massive three points.”