Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Liverpool forwards Takumi Minamino, Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri.
The three players were introduced with half an hour remaining of the club’s Champions League group-stage opener against Ajax, each impressing against the Dutch champions.
Liverpool secured a 1-0 victory through a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal, thanks in no small part to the display of auxiliary centre-half Fabinho.
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But Klopp was just as eager to point to the second-half impact of substitutes Shaqiri, Minamino and Jota, who replaced Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
“The three upfront, you could see it was an intense game,” he said.
“The defensive transition was really important and if you do that, win the ball, then you have a big chance for the offensive transition. It was hard for the starting front three, so I was really happy that we could do that.
“I’m not in doubt about the quality of the boys. Look, the game was like this, it became pretty wild, we had to defend really all together. We defended then in a 4-5-1, obviously that means both wingers need to be really involved in defending, and then in the moment you win the ball there are incredibly big spaces for the counter-attack and we really thought it made sense to bring fresh legs there.
“All three who came on are, first, in a really good shape, fresh in a tricky, difficult game on a difficult pitch. That helps a lot and you saw they helped a lot.
“Shaq won deflections, which is pretty special. Taki in both directions, incredible between the lines. And Diogo is a machine so he can punish opponents in one-on-one situations.
“We had these moments, we didn’t finish them off, unfortunately. But it’s completely fine, it was important for them.”
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