Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Ryan Gravenberch’s “obvious talent” as the midfielder paved the way for the 2-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise with his first goal for the club.
The Netherlands international, a £34million summer signing from Bayern Munich, made only his third start of the season and after impressing in the first European outing another all-round performance was capped with what he described as “the easiest goal of my career”.
Gravenberch capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Anthony Moris, who fumbled Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot to present a tap-in for the 21-year-old a minute before half-time.
“It is really obvious how good he is, the talent he is,” said Klopp of a player who arrived on transfer deadline so has had to be gradually introduced to English football with three Premier League substitute appearances.
“He is enjoying the situation and it is very important the confidence back, that is really good to see.
“We thought he might be able to play 90 (minutes), we wanted to give him 90 but we saw he dropped a bit so that’s why we took him off.”
“How should he deal with it? I knew it would be difficult. That (controversial defeat to Tottenham) is long ago and we are over that and Diogo is over it as well. We are not children.
“From a focus point of view, it was not a problem to focus on the game, in the game it was a problem to keep being focused because that was how it looked a little bit.
“We got a bit sluggish, I didn’t like that too much but that was nothing to do with the last game or the last week. That’s the challenge in football any way.”
Two successive wins puts Liverpool two points clear at the top of Group E and victory over Toulouse, two points behind, in three weeks’ time would put them on the verge of qualification for the knockout stages.
But it was far from the sort of free-flowing performance seen by the side this season as they missed a number of chances and then started to lose their way in the second half.
“(I liked) the start and the result. The goals, the chances we created. What I didn’t like is we lost rhythm after 25 minutes,” Klopp added.
“It’s very difficult to keep rhythm in games like this but it’s important. We should have scored earlier but got the second in stoppage time.
“It was a mature professional performance, we got the result we wanted but know we can do better.”
Union coach Alexander Blessin knew his side were up against it before a ball was even kicked but was disappointed they did not gain more confidence from keeping their hosts at bay for almost the entire first half.
“In the end I’m proud of the team, but we saw the strength of Liverpool,” he said.
“I had the feeling that the game changed (after Liverpool’s start) and in those moments you need it to go your way.”