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LIVERPOOL progressed to the semifinals of the Champions League after defeating a Manchester City side Jurgen Klopp believes is “the best team in the world.”
The visitors had an early scare when Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring in the second minute to make it 3-1 on aggregate but held on against a barrage of attacks in the first half, scoring two goals of their own in the second.
City manager Pep Guardiola believes the referee had a big impact on the game. A Leroy Sane goal was ruled out for offside despite the ball arriving at his feet off Liverpool’s James Milner.
The Catalan also believes his side should have had a penalty following a coming together between Andy Robertson and Raheem Sterling.
Refereeing decisions aside, both managers appreciated the quality of the opposition.
“First of all I would say big congratulations to Liverpool for going through,” added Guardiola.
“Hopefully they can defend English football in the semifinals. They are a top team, top manager, so I would say they deserve to be in the final.”
Klopp switched his forward players to push Mohamed Salah higher up the pitch, using the work rate of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the wings.
It paid off in the second half when Mane drove forward, linking up with Salah. The Senegalese tumbled in the box for what might have been a penalty, but Salah picked up the loose ball to score the vital away goal.
Firmino cooly added a second off the inside of the far post after Nicolas Otamendi gave away possession.
“Over two games I really think we deserve to be in the next round,” said Klopp.
“We scored five goals against Man City and conceded one. These numbers are usually not possible and the boys did it.
“I really think [City] are the best team in the world at the moment, that’s how it is, but I knew we can beat them.
“That doesn’t make us the better team, that’s football. That’s the cool thing in the game that it’s still possible, but it’s difficult and will be difficult in the semis as well.”
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