Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confessed that his team needed luck on their side to see off Porto on Wednesday.
Second-half goals from Thiago and Mohamed Salah secured a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory for Liverpool, but the Portuguese league leaders had plenty of chances themselves against the second-string defence of Kostas Tsimikas, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Neco Williams.
After the game, Klopp acknowledged that he expected some nervy moments because of the amount of rotation in his lineup, but confessed that they needed a bit of good fortune to keep a clean sheet.
“We could have lost this game tonight,” he admitted (via the club’s official website). “We gave chances away where they could have scored and that would have made the game obviously really difficult, so we should not make too much of it. We were lucky in moments.
“But yes, we have our moments where we are really not cool to play against, that’s true. And I didn’t expect that tonight really because we changed decisive things, to be honest, and you don’t expect then the boys immediately get like a ruthless pressing machine or whatever. You just know we have to grow into the game and that’s happened actually – that’s what I’m happy about.
“But there’s so many games coming up and it’s always you judge one game – that’s the game today – but actually I think we have to play even better on Saturday against Southampton because they are a proper pressing machine and they go really for it.
“We have to make sure that we are ready for that. This game tonight helped obviously because we could rest players, we could give rhythm to other players, we could bring players back after injury, all these kind of things.
“So, a lot of good things happened tonight but I’m not sure we should make the mistake now to say we are this or that again. What we are or what we were, we will know after the season. But in the moment we are in a good moment and we should try everything to keep that going.”
With Liverpool already qualified for the knockout stages before kick-off, Klopp took the chance to rest a number of his top players and instead give his fringe stars the chance to build up some match fitness.
“We had a lot of things to think about: who came from injury, who played a lot of games, who needed to get rested and all these kind of things,” he continued.
“For this game, nobody felt like he needed a rest because we had Saturday – Wednesday, the boys are really used to that and they are all completely fine. It is just then the amount of games coming up, we need them all really in kind of a rhythm and that’s why the line-up really made really tonight. It worked out really well because nobody got injured and stuff like this, so everything is good.”