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English Premiership

Klopp lauds Liverpool’s ‘wonderful’ Wijnaldum

Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp (L) celebrates with goalscorer Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 31, 2016 © AFP / Paul ELLIS

LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Dec 31Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Georginio Wijnaldum’s “wonderful” goal after the Dutch midfielder’s early header earned his team a 1-0 win over Manchester City on Saturday.

Wijnaldum met Adam Lallana’s cross with a bullet header in the eighth minute at Anfield to cut Chelsea’s lead back to six points and give Liverpool a four-point advantage over third-place City.

“It was difficult. We couldn’t create too many chances. We defended really well. It was a wonderful goal,” Klopp said.

“The quality of Man City, the situation –- when you invest so much in a game like this, at the end you want to have it all. Thank God we got it because we play again on Monday (at Sunderland).

“We probably had the bigger chances. The second half, our biggest problems were when we gave the ball away. I don’t know of any real chances for them.”

Liverpool left-back James Milner conceded his side had not been at their fluent best, but drew encouragement from the way they dug in.

“Arguably it’s one of the worst performances for how we want to play. But it was a gutsy performance,” he told BT Sport.

“We had to grind out the result. You can’t always win games the way you want. It’s a massive victory. There’s a long way to go, but it’s pleasing to be up there.”

City have now been beaten four times in the league this season and although they improved in the second half, they never seriously looked like forcing their way back into the match.

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“We started really good. The first chance they have, they score, so it was always difficult,” City manager Pep Guardiola told the BBC.

“First half we didn’t create much, second half we were a little better. It is what it is. There were not too many clear chances. In these kind of games, the little details make the difference.

“We have to focus on the next game, not on the target or the Premier League. Now it is Burnley (on Monday). Now we start the second road and see what can happen.”

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