Jurgen Klopp said he will “never compare” himself to former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly after his side beat Bournemouth to take another major step towards a first league title in 30 years.
The victory was Liverpool’s 22nd successive Premier League win at Anfield, breaking the English top-flight record set by Shankly’s team in 1972.
“We didn’t think about that number before the game, but after we can,” said Klopp. “It’s nice, it’s special, but today is a very good example that we have to fight.”
The hosts fell behind in controversial circumstances, Callum Wilson slotting home Jefferson Lerma’s low cross after appearing to shove Joe Gomez in the build-up to the goal.
Liverpool soon hit their stride, however, and Mohamed Salah – making his 100th league appearance for the club – restored parity with a low finish after Sadio Mane dispossessed Jack Simpson deep inside the Cherries’ half.
Mane latched on to Virgil van Dijk’s perfectly-weighted through-ball to complete the turnaround, but Liverpool needed a brilliant goal-line clearance from James Milner to prevent Ryan Fraser from hauling Bournemouth back on level terms in a nervy second half.
“We’re not geniuses, but we can really fight and that’s all we have to do until the end of the season,” said Klopp, who confirmed captain Jordan Henderson – missing with a hamstring injury – is likely to resume full training on Sunday before the Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Atletico Madrid.
“I think he will train tomorrow. If that looks good, I have to make a decision.”
The win means Liverpool could be champions by the time they play Everton in the league on 16 March – if Manchester City loses their next three games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Burnley.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side remain in the relegation zone, level on points with Watford and West Ham but with a worse goal difference than their nearest rivals at the bottom.
Klopp spoke before the game about “getting back on track immediately” after watching his side slip to consecutive defeats in the league and FA Cup.
They made the worst possible start, however, as Bournemouth capitalised on the Reds’ early nerves to take a shock lead – albeit in controversial fashion.
Wilson finished off a neat move involving Lerma and Philip Billing, but Liverpool felt the goal should have been disallowed for the striker’s push on Gomez. The video assistant referee saw no infringement and the goal was given.
Things could have got worse for Liverpool when Nathan Ake’s powerful header was unconvincingly shovelled on to the top of the crossbar by stand-in goalkeeper Adrian, although they continued to create chances and deservedly restored parity through Salah’s low finish – his 70th league goal for the club.
If Bournemouth fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when Mane scored with a delightful dink over Aaron Ramsdale 12 minutes before half-time, Liverpool failed to carry that momentum into the second half.
Chances were few and far between until Ryan Fraser spotted Adrian off his line, with the retreating Milner producing an outstanding clearance, while Mane’s 25-yard strike cannoned back off the bar.
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Source – BBC