Klopp: ‘If I knew Alisson was this good I would have paid double’
Defeated Carlo Ancelotti claims Virgil van Dijk should have received a straight red
Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker makes a crucial stoppage time save. Photograph: PA
Liverpool claimed the 1-0 win required to pip Carlo Ancelotti’s team to second place in Group C courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s fine first-half strike. They faced elimination, however, when Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik had a glorious chance to equalise in the 92nd minute only for Alisson to block at point-blank range.
The save was worth almost £11m to Liverpool – in terms of money for the victory and qualification – and Klopp insisted the Brazil international has already proved an astute investment.
“If I knew Alisson was this good I would have paid double,” the Liverpool manager beamed. “It was not only one save. He had a lot of things to do tonight. How cool and calm he was with the ball helps us a lot in our buildup situations. When he comes out for crosses he is outstanding. And, yes, that save was just incredible.
“But if we don’t defend the whole pitch like we defended, Ali cannot make 20 saves like the last one. He did it: incredible, unbelievable. I never saw something similar. But still he needs the other boys around him. I couldn’t be more proud of all the people involved – ‘thank you’.”
Klopp claimed Liverpool’s all-round display was worthy of a place in the knockout phase for the second successive season.
“The game was outstanding, unbelievable,” he added. “The boys played with their whole hearts on the pitch. Our offensive defending, our offensive pressing was some of the best I’ve ever saw.
“The intensity we played with was just difficult to deal with. Yes, we could have scored more often but the 2-0 doesn’t help a lot. The goal Mo scored – what a goal, unbelievable. And the save Ali made – I have no words for that. That was, of course, a lifesaver. I’m really proud what the boys did tonight.”
Ancelotti insisted Virgil van Dijk should have received a straight red card for a dangerous first-half challenge on Dries Mertens, the Liverpool defender taking the ball and then the forward’s ankle.
“From the video it is a red card,” said the Napoli manager. “There are a lot of questions about VAR but when VAR comes in the Champions League it will be too late.”
The Liverpool defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joël Matip both suffered injuries, with Matip taken to hospital for tests on a shoulder injury. Alexander-Arnold sustained a foot injury.