Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool proved they are back as a European force to be reckoned with after his side thrashed Bayern Munich 3-1 to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Sadio Mane broke the deadlock in the tie, following a goalless first leg on Merseyside, with a brilliant solo effort at the Allianz Arena.
Joel Matip’s own goal levelled matters before half-time but Liverpool restored their lead through Virgil van Dijk before Mane wrapped up the win with his second of the game.
“Scoring three here is really difficult – actually we scored four because we scored the other one as well!” he told a post-match news conference.
“It’s a big, big step for us. We will see what we can do with it but it’s a fantastic sign, I love it.
“We again set a mark for this wonderful club, that we really are back on the landscape of international top football.
“We all thing that’s where this club belongs and tonight we proved it at least a little bit. I’m really happy about the result. I knew we had a chance and the boys made it happen.”
Van Dijk sat out the first leg through suspension and, once again, proved an influential presence on his return.
“What can I say – I can write a book about his skills, about his strengths, what a fantastic person he is,” Klopp said.
“So young, so strong, already so mature.”
“Virg knows that he can play better than he did, especially in the second half, we played as good as is necessary and possible in a game like this.”
“You have to stay in a game, be really stable and have answers to all the questions, change things, use different tools.”
“We had better passing in the second half, we had so many good football moments in the second half and I like that we developed into the game.”
“It’s a difficult place to come, not too many teams have wins on their card at Munich.”
Klopp enjoyed many memorable battles at the Allianz Arena as Borussia Dortmund boss, often coming off on the losing side, but he insisted revenge did not figure in his emotions after an accomplished job
“I’m not like this. It’s not sweeter for me because it’s Bayern. It does not bring back for me the other results from when we played them and we lost,” he added.
“I wanted to win for Liverpool, not to beat Bayern. That doesn’t bring me anything. It’s just a good moment for Liverpool, so let’s enjoy that.”