There was plenty of adulation for Liverpool’s “winning mentality” as the players celebrated their 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
After two consecutive victories filled with drama at seemingly every turn, Liverpool could not end the week without yet another game which played with your emotions.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travelled to the Midlands as heavy favourites but found themselves behind on the scoreboard midway through the opening term as their lack of defensive organisation was punished.
The Reds had a multitude of chances to find an equaliser having controlled the lion’s share of possession but were largely left to their lament poor decision making in the final third.
It was a trend which continued for much of the encounter as while Villa were penned in their half, Liverpool could not land the required blow beyond the hosts’ stubborn defence.
That was until Sadio Mane dispatched a sumptuous pinpoint delivery which was met by the head of Andy Robertson with merely minutes left in the game, but the provider soon turned game-winner as he turned away Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner delivery to complete a memorable comeback.
It is a pattern which the left-back himself acknowledged his side are “getting quite good at” when speaking to LFCTV after the final whistle, where he credited the work completed in pre-season for Liverpool’s ability to go the distance.
Robertson was also full of praise for Mane as he continued his rich vein of form in front of goal:
“We’re getting quite good at this! I don’t think the fans’ nerves can keep up with us.
“We’ve scored a lot of last-minute and late goals, but for us it’s all about the work that goes into pre-season and we work so hard to get fit that we believe we can go right to the end.
“We went 96 minutes today and that’s why when teams start to get tired, we find our second gear and started to get chances and we couldn’t put them away.
“Luckily [Sadio and I] popped up and it was a big one for us and just delighted to get the three points.
“[Sadio’s] been magnificent since I’ve come in, but 2019 has been his year and he has really turned it up and he obviously shared the golden boot last year and he’s off to a flyer this season.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s No. 10 struggled to put into words how happy the result made him and his team, as while it was not the Reds’ best performance he felt they were deserving of the three points.
The result means Klopp’s men will enter the clash against Man City with the chance to extend their lead at the summit to nine-points, and it is an opportunity Mane is “looking forward” to making the most of:
“I’m struggling to describe how happy we are.
“It was always going to be tough but I think our reaction was perfect. In the first half it wasn’t our best performance but, like we said, we just had to push hard as a team and give everything and try, try again.
“That’s what we tried to do and at the end we created some chances and we scored two goals. For sure it wasn’t our best performance, but we deserved the three points.
“We have big respect for Man City. They are a very good team, but we are Liverpool and we are also a good team. I think it will be a very interesting game and we are looking forward to it.”
After the final whistle, the squad took to Instagram to celebrate another show of fighting spirit after yet another memorable comeback.
While it was far from a straightforward game, Virgil van Dijk and Adam Lallana “enjoyed” their afternoon’s work:
But rightly, James Milner issued a health warning to Reds that anyone with “anxiety or heart problems” may not find it suitable to support a team consistently eager to test your ticker:
Alisson and Roberto Firmino, similarly celebrated another three points in the bag while also lauding the support of the Liverpool faithful:
And for Robertson, it was an afternoon where he turned from provider into the goalscorer, and he was clearly over the moon about it:
Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, meanwhile, were left in awe of the “winning mentality” and the Reds’ determination to “never give up”:
The third dramatic win of the week ensures Liverpool remain on cloud nine as they gear up for their final two fixtures before the last international break of the year.
European action is first on the agenda as Genk awaits at Anfield on Tuesday, before a decisive showdown with Man City in the Premier League the following Sunday afternoon.