Jürgen Klopp hailed a “very mature” performance after Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 to ensure they will spend Christmas Day top of the table but the German warned that it was no time for a party and said that as many as 105 points could be needed to win the title this season.
Mohamed Salah’s 11th Premier League goal of the season and Virgil van Dijk’s first for the club since he scored on his debut against Everton helped to secure a seventh successive top-flight victory for Liverpool, who now have 48 points from 18 matches and remain unbeaten.
Klopp, however, believes that Liverpool may need to improve on that record in the second half of a season that he described as “exceptional”.
“Forty-eight points before Christmas, it’s just crazy, but there are other teams there as well,” said the Liverpool manager, whose side’s lead will be cut back to one if Manchester City win at home against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“At the end of season you need 105 [points] to be champion – it could be. We cannot start a party.”
Klopp was particularly pleased with the professional way in which his team went about the task of overcoming a Wolves side that have an impressive record against top-six opponents this season. “It was very mature,” he said.
“The heavy rain made things very hard. Both goals had nothing to do with the things we did in the game but we were quick in the mind in two set pieces.”
Salah’s opening goal was brilliantly converted with the outside of his left boot and he also set up the second for Van Dijk, who was outstanding at the back for Liverpool.
“He is in a good moment and very important for us and hopefully it can stay like this,” said Klopp, when asked about Van Dijk’s form and influence on the team.
“The workrate in general is outstanding with how we defended. I love the boy but the two in front [Jordan Henderson and Fabinho] have to run a lot more to make it easier for the centre-halves and they did it again.”
Wolves missed the chance to go above Manchester United into sixth as their three-game winning run ended.
They go to Fulham on Boxing Day and their manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, praised his team’s performance.
He said: “It was a tough game. They have a very good pace and caused us many problems but we stayed in the game.
“I’m not so happy with the way we conceded but I’m proud of the work of the boys and we keep going.
“This schedule now is going to be tough for all the team.”