Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s last-minute victory the “perfect response” when asked about Newcastle’s time-wasting at Anfield, calling the 2-1 win one of his “best nights”.
The visitors, who looked set to secure a deserved point thanks to Alexander Isak’s first-half goal, had frustrated Klopp’s side with a number of incidents of running down the clock in the final 10 minutes of the game, and during the five minutes of added time indicated Nick Pope also called on the physio for treatment on his shoulder.
However, the addition of more than two extra minutes before Fabio Carvalho’s last-gasp winner from a corner was enough to leave the visiting bench incensed, and tensions boiled over as Liverpool’s backroom staff and substitutes celebrated the youngster’s goal.
“When we scored after 90-plus-eight minutes, it’s the perfect response to that, to be honest. I’m really happy about that, but nothing else to say,” he told BT Sport.
“It was the perfect moment to win this game because it was a difficult game, very passionate, aggressive defending. It’s difficult to pick up the rhythm from a game where everything clicked immediately and you find yourself in situations where it isn’t clicking immediately.
“I told the boys at half-time even before we were 1-0 down, we looked a bit desperate already, we didn’t play the extra pass. When we did that, we were really dangerous, so we had to force ourselves to keep calm a little bit more and to keep going.”
Klopp then showed off his trademark fist-pump celebration in front of the exuberant Kop come the final whistle, before heaping high praise on Liverpool’s night.
“It’s a massive boost from a frustrating night,” he said. “One of the best nights we ever had, that’s how football is.
“But we have to make sure we use these two days really well. The last two games we got six points, but we have to improve.
“It will not be that Everton open up for us now. We know it will be tough so we have to be ready.”
Carvalho, who turned 20 on Tuesday, scored his second goal in five days to earn Liverpool only a second win from their opening five games, despite playing only 84 minutes to date for the club he joined from Fulham this summer.
“He’s a fantastic boy,” added Klopp. “We changed pretty much everything, we went very offensive orientated but he can also play there. If a boy is as good as he is then he needs the moment.
“It’s a massive result, which we will remember it for years and years. We had a 3-2 win at Newcastle once where Divock Origi scored late. I’m not 100 per cent sure they all believed until the end – but from now on we have to as we showed again it is possible.”
Howe: We were fatigued with less time to prepare
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, who called Carvalho’s winner a “very painful” moment for his side, defended their approach to the second half at Anfield, having played almost 24 hours after Liverpool at the weekend.
He said: “It’s a Premier League game, there’s so much at stake. We had players who were fatigued, we had one day less to recover than Liverpool, we’ve given everything to every game we’ve had so far. There was no gamesmanship from our perspective, it was just tired bodies.
“In the second half we wanted to slow the game down, they wanted to quicken it up, so it was a natural frustration against two polar-opposite needs.”
He added: “As I am sat here I have no idea [why two minutes extra were played]. It seemed the final whistle would never come but we needed to defend the final situation better than we did. It is a cruel game.”
On the game itself, in which Newcastle came within inches of taking another point against one of last season’s title contenders after holding Man City already this season, Howe said: “I am really proud of the players, and proud of the commitment but that is very painful.
“When you are in the lead here naturally it becomes a different game. You have to defend very well, I don’t think they had many clear-cut chances but that last-minute goal was a heartbreaker.”
Liverpool travel to Everton for the Merseyside derby on Saturday at 12.30pm, before Newcastle host Crystal Palace on Saturday at 3pm.