Jürgen Klopp said he “almost cried” when Mohamed Salah generously let Roberto Firmino take Liverpool’s second penalty so that he could complete his hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of Arsenal.
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Arsenal were well and truly outclassed at Anfield despite taking an early lead through Ainsley Maitland-Niles, as the Reds moved nine points clear at the top of the table. Firmino hit back with two quickfire goals, before Sadio Mané and Salah – from the penalty spot – had Liverpool 4-1 up by half-time.
Charitable gesture from Salah
The Reds were given another penalty in the second half when Sead Kolasinac appeared to nudge Dejan Lovren to the ground, but Salah handed the ball to Firmino to take it and he duly completed his first Premier League treble. Klopp singled that moment out at full-time.
“We knew in the second half that the game wasn’t finished, so we wanted to control it,” Klopp told BBC Sport. “Mohamed Salah gave the penalty to Bobby [Firmino] and I almost cried because we all know how much Mohamed wants to score goals. It was really nice.”
“2018 ends with a Christmas present from Mo Salah and I love it,” Klopp said.
“I love the gesture. I love that he gave the ball to Bobby and he can score a hat-trick.
“That’s a nice thing. At that moment, I wasn’t too happy as in training Bobby doesn’t finish his penalties too often to be honest, but obviously today was his day.
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“Look, it worked so it was one of the nicest things I ever saw in my life. Really, I don’t know a lot of players who would do that.
“When I saw him then celebrating with Bobby that was then like ‘wow’. Just outstanding. So far, the gesture of the season – really, really nice.”
Klopp was also keen to laud Liverpool’s response to initially falling behind, as they bounced back emphatically and swiftly. “The response [to going behind] was world class,” he added. “We stayed calm and really forced the mistakes. Firmino’s second when Sadio [Mané] won the ball – wow. It was perfect defending.”