Liverpool came from behind to beat Villa 2-1 in Birmingham thanks to Mane’s second-half header. Former Manchester City midfielder Douglas Luiz opened the scoring in the third minute before Joel Matip equalised for the Reds moments later.
The result leaves Liverpool second in the Premier League, level on points with City having played a game more. Pep Guardiola’s side can re-establish their three-point lead over their title rivals with victory against Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday evening.
“He’s a machine, I told him after the game,” said Klopp at full-time. “Massive player, massive player. Physicality, his mix of technique, desire and physicality, in the moment when everyone has a few yards in the legs, you can see it with him. Top goal, just a fantastic, world-class player.”
Liverpool are aiming to become the first English side in history to win the quadruple this season after winning the EFL Cup and reaching the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League, meaning they’ll play in every game available to them this season.
On whether they’ve gone a game too far, Klopp said: “If I start feeling sorry for us, we have a problem. No, I don’t think we should use this as an explanation. We caused ourselves problems by qualifying for all these finals.
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“It’s a positive but it’s of course hard, human beings are like this we have this habit to feel sorry for ourselves, but no, this was not the case, we were in the game and they just went for us.
“We knew before the game we have to play, but it wasn’t easy, we had to get control of the game. From the moment we did that it was fine, the problem was we conceded the first goal and that wasn’t in our plans. But 1-1 it was fine, and step by step we controlled it.”
On the title race, Klopp added: “I don’t know. We cannot do more. We cannot do more than win. A lot of people thought this could be a banana skin, or a struggle, and how the boys saw to that is absolutely outstanding. So now we have a day longer, Saturday we play the final. Yes it is tough but we will be ready, absolutely.”
Klopp will be concerned about Fabinho’s fitness after the Brazilian limped out of the game. “Yes, that’s massive,” said the German when asked. “Fab can do that as well, but he felt something, which is a big blow for us. Hopefully it’s not that bad, but I don’t know.”
Captain Jordan Henderson didn’t start the game but finished it after replacing Fabinho. “Hendo was in good shape and had a good game for us, you have to make the decisions before the game, nobody had any problems and you have to play someone,” said Klopp when asked about the skipper.
“It’s not good for us that this happened, but we controlled it with Naby and Curtis very early on in the game, when they turned in moments when they had no pressure we were between the lines and could go. That’s the real important things. I’m really happy because tonight was incredibly difficult.”