A frustrated Jürgen Klopp calls for greater calmness in front of goal but labels Southampton draw ‘not the end of the world’…
Jürgen Klopp‘s third match in charge of Liverpool mirrored the first two in more ways than just the result as his new players again looked unsure of themselves as an attacking unit.
The half-time introduction of Christian Benteke did at least give the hosts a presence up front, which they had sorely lacked in the opening 45 minutes.
His 77th minute header even looked to have delivered the manager a first three points but the failure to win a succession of headers saw Sadio Mané convert a free-kick from close-range with just four minutes of normal time left.
On the balance of chances created, if not possession, territory and actual attempts, many independent observers will argue Southampton, who unlike Liverpool hadn’t been involved in European action this past week, probably merited a share of the spoils.
“There were many things I saw tonight that were really fine,” analysed Klopp at his post-match press conference. “I saw two teams fighting for a result, one team with more freshness because of one game less in the week.
“But we played football against them. They tried to press high, they stayed high in the space, and we were brave enough to play football.
“We had our moments and situations. We had everything you need in a close game to win. We made the goal and we wanted to win, of course.
“This free-kick – everybody knows you should avoid things like this against a team like Southampton with their spring in the air. We lost three one-on-ones in the air, bad luck, and it’s a draw.
“There was still 10 minutes to go. We didn’t give up physically, it’s not that we stopped our game physically, but we didn’t believe anymore that we could turn the game around. That’s a problem, that’s why we’re not calm enough in the moments when we have the chances, the last pass and so on.
“I don’t understand this pressure at the moment, but the guys feel it. You can see that. They work so hard, they are full of concentration, full of readiness, full of passion, everything is there.
“And we conceded one goal and it felt like the end of the world – and it’s not the end of the world. It’s only a goal, you can always come back and that’s what we have to understand. That’s what I saw tonight.”
Reassuringly, the German firmly believes the deficiencies have nothing to do with a lack of desire or effort and can be overcome with time and hard work.
“I hope I’m not the only person in this stadium who thought it’s not the end of the world,” added Klopp. “We can work with this result. We can work with this performance of the team.
“If I sit here and have to say ‘these guys are not ready for fighting’ or what not, then it would be bad news. But everybody saw how ready they are and that’s the most important thing…
“We can talk about why we didn’t make the next step, why we didn’t do this – but we all know it takes time. I see development, but the problem is the other teams don’t wait for us. They want to win and beat us.
“I don’t know what Ronald Koeman has said, but I am sure he didn’t think it was an easy game for them. They’ve played really well this season away from home, they’ve had good results and haven’t lost a game, so there was quality on the other side – and they didn’t play on Thursday.
“In my eyes, we were the better team and had more situations. I saw development, I saw the next step, I saw many things, but of course we are disappointed because of the result.”
Liverpool have a third successive home game on Wednesday night when AFC Bournemouth visit in the Capital One Cup. After that they travel down to London for a massive league fixture against bitter rivals, and out-of-sorts defending champions, Chelsea.
So that’s what he thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your verdict below or vote in our MOTM poll to the right…
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