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Jurgen Klopp laughs off Liverpool criticism, praises defence vs. Palace

After knocking at Crystal Palace's door all game, Sadio Mane finally found a way through at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL -- Jurgen Klopp brushed off criticism of his Liverpool side and praised their defensive display after a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday.

Sadio Mane's 73rd-minute winner was enough to give Liverpool their first Premier League victory of the season.

Their defence came in for criticism after last weekend's 3-3 draw at Watford, but Klopp said his back four had done well to combat the direct threat from Palace.

Speaking at his postmatch news conference, Klopp said: "Obviously my decision not to read the British press was one of the best I ever did in my life, because were we already under pressure?

"Yes, we were not 100 percent happy, but it's not a general problem. We have to work on it. If you want to start like this, then we defended outstandingly well today.

"I think last week against Huddersfield, Crystal Palace started really football-playing and then Huddersfield were 2-0 up. Then they became a little more direct and using Christian Benteke. I think we really defended this outstandingly well.

"[Ragnar] Klavan and [Joel] Matip did really well in the protection. Joe [Gomez] and Robbo [Andrew Robertson] were really good. You cannot defend it differently, to be honest.

"One problem we had at Watford was we were too early, too deep. If you know the other team plays long balls, you have to stay as high as possible as long as possible to create the space for your goalkeeper and use offside."

On his side's attacking performance, Klopp added: "Football-playing in the first half could have been better, 100 percent. I'm really happy that we scored and I'm really happy that we created the chances we had in the second half.

"Like offensive football always is, it's making the right decision in the right moment. We didn't find the spaces in the first half often enough, but we could show the players at half-time where the spaces are. It's one little pass, one switch and the world is much nicer in this moment. We didn't do this often enough."

Sadio Mane scored Liverpool's winner against Crystal Palace.

Summer signing Robertson started at Anfield and impressed on his competitive debut following his move from Hull City.

"Everybody can now see how good Robbo -- with a few more sessions -- can be, especially in offensive situations. His crosses are a real threat," Klopp added.

"When we think a little bit about how we would feel playing our first game at Anfield, you cannot be full of joy because there's a lot of pressure on yourself. He did really well."

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer felt his players were unfortunate to lose for the second consecutive week.

The visitors were dominated by Liverpool in terms of possession but could have taken the lead 10 minutes after half-time, only for Christian Benteke to blaze over from close range.

"I think we played 95 minutes really concentrated," De Boer said. "At the end of these kind of games, the chances you get, you need to punish them.

"Of course Christian had the biggest one. But the positive thing for me was that we were really concentrated and were really playing as a team.

"To lose 1-0 at Anfield is very disappointing because you worked so hard and you deserved more. I'm convinced if we show this every week then the points will come."

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.


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