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top four 'These kinds of things make careers' - Jurgen Klopp picks out a hero as Liverpool seal big win

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp via REUTERS/Alex Livesey

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp via REUTERS/Alex Livesey

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp via REUTERS/Alex Livesey

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave a glowing endorsement of centre-back Nathaniel Phillips, as his goal helped his side move back into the Premier League's top four with a 3-0 win at Burnley.

sundayworld.com revealed on Tuesday that Liverpool believe Phillips can be a key man intheir defensive line-up next season and he lived up to his billing with a fine goal in the crucial win at Turf Moor.

Victory put Jurgen Klopp's side ahead of Leicester on goal difference and if they match the Foxes' result against Tottenham in their last home game of the season against Crystal Palace they will clinch a Champions League spot.

Liverpool were indebted to Roberto Firmino's strike late in the first half, back-up central defender Phillips' first senior goal early in the second and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s maiden goal of the campaign.

It inspired Klopp to heap praise on two of his first team starters, as he suggested Phillips and his youthful centre-back partner Rhys Williams have snatched their opportunity amid the club's injury crisis.

"The chance (Williams and Phillips) got now and how they used it," he said. "These kinds of things make careers. I don't think many would have thought Phillips would be a starter for Liverpool and now he scores. It's very nice.

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Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips celebrates scoring the second goal during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read: Alex Livesey/PA Wire.

Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips celebrates scoring the second goal during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read: Alex Livesey/PA Wire.

Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips celebrates scoring the second goal during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read: Alex Livesey/PA Wire.

"It was never easy at Burnley. I can't remember an easy game against here. What a job Sean Dyche is doing. The way they play is so tricky to defend against. They are smart. Apart from a nervy start passing-wise, we had to adapt to the atmosphere in the stadium, but then we played really good football.

"We scored a wonderful goal. In the second half they started again with the highest intensity. Alisson was constantly under pressure on the set-pieces. It's just tricky. You cannot deny them all the time and you have to score in the chances. Nat Phillips had a really great header and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had really nice skill. An important goal for him. I'm really happy."

Winning a fourth successive league match for the first time this season meant they go into the final day as the Premier League’s most in-form team with 23 points from the last 27 available.

"It's too early to talk about it. In this position we have to wrap them up in cotton wool and go again. There is nothing decided yet but we have another final which we have again.

"After a long, long time we didn't really know where we would end. Now we are in a European league and we need to secure the Champions League on the last day. There are really important football games on the last day.

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"This was a semi-final. We had to win the semi-final and we did. Nothing is decided yet but we improved our position and we have the final. That's what we needed. It's what we deserve because this was a top performance."

It is an impressive comeback from two months ago when, for a time, any European football looked beyond them, with Klopp admitting he is surprised to be in the top four heading into the final game of the season.

"I couldn’t be more pleased. It is not that we took these things for granted," he added.

"February was the last time we were in the top four and we didn’t win a lot of games since then. In the last eight or 10 games, I don’t know how many, we are back on track.

"If we win on Sunday then we are probably qualified for the Champions League"

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