Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has lauded the efforts of one of his players after subduing Michail Antonio, while Alexis Mac Allister has backed a teammate to explode.
Klopp praised Joël Matip for his role in silencing Michail Antonio during Liverpool’s win over West Ham on Sunday.
Ahead of the game at Anfield, Antonio had confidently predicted that the Hammers would not only beat Liverpool, but finish ahead of the Reds in the Premier League this season.
However, the 33-year-old endured an afternoon to forget. Having missed a glorious chance to score early on in front of the Kop, Antonio remained relatively anonymous in the game before he was brought off with just over 15 minutes to go, and Klopp was full of praise for his veteran defender in silencing the West Ham forward.
“It feels really good because before the game, it was clear, we played Thursday as well as West Ham, and you arrive here, really tricky opponent,” Klopp said (via the ECHO).
“And then on top of that, with the first whistle, the wind starts. I didn’t remember before the game that it was windy, then we get out.
“You saw it this time with the big chance of Antonio, the header he missed. I’m pretty sure if the wind is not there, that is even more dangerous. Makes it very often a 50-50 situation in these moments.
“You have to get the ball down on the ground, keep playing, try again, learn from the game, use the formation as much as you can, and then defend with all that you have and that’s what we did.
“Joël Matip with a super performance against Antonio. It’s a key moment in the game, they chipped the ball there. I don’t know how often in the past we suffered when we could control the ball. Today he had it once or twice and immediately the chaos starts. He did that really well.”
Meanwhile Alexis Mac Allister has predicted Liverpool will see the best of Darwin Núñez this season, with the striker improving after a tricky first season at Anfield.
Núñez scored his fourth goal in all competitions so far this season during Liverpool’s win over West Ham, with the Uruguay international now seemingly part of Klopp’s first-choice front three.
The 24-year-old has improved on his form from last season, when he found himself out of favor during the final run-in to the campaign, and Mac Allister — who laid on a superb assist for his teammate against the Hammers — believes there’s more to come from Núñez.
“Yeah, of course, I think he’s getting better and better,” Mac Allister told the club’s official website.
“I think we will see the best of him this year. He’s a very nice guy, he’s working very hard. I’m really pleased for him.”