A happy Jürgen Klopp has described his first win as Liverpool manager as ‘the next step’…
Liverpool are through to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals after a narrow 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on Wednesday night.
The victory, secured via a first half Nathaniel Clyne strike after an improvised Joao Carlos Teixeira back heel had been cleared off the line, represents a first in charge of the Merseysiders for new manager Jürgen Klopp.
The German made nine changes from Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Southampton with summer acquisition Roberto Firmino arguably the stand-out performer.
Analysing the match at his post-match press conference, Klopp revealed a sense of satisfaction at seeing his makeshift selection pull through a tough encounter.
“We did well tonight,” commented the 48-year-old to reporters. “We didn’t have too much time again between the games, not too much time for training, only one hour training with this new team and new system.
“I saw minute by minute we were better in the game, we closed the spaces better and the whole 90 minutes we played football and created our chances. We didn’t have any real experience together, so I’m really satisfied – the boys did really well.
“We made a fantastic goal; Teixeira in the box and Clyne with him close enough, two boys from the left wing in the box because we had the space for it. That’s really good, that’s what we want. It’s the next step.
“We saw these young guys together with these experienced guys, Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure – it was a shame he had to go out so early. But for Dejan it was very important, 90 very intensive minutes in this game.”
In addition to Teixeira, there were first senior starts for midfielder Cameron Brannagan, 20, and teenage full-back Connor Randall.
Discussing his decision to include the trio, Klopp revealed: “I was completely sure these players had the quality to help us tonight and that’s what they did.
“It was not easy. One week ago I said it’s not so easy to rotate, if you bring players to play together.
“That’s what we saw tonight – it was not all of them but it was the best they could do and so I’m completely satisfied.
“Cameron Brannagan was in a very difficult position in the system we played today, the half space as a No.8. It’s really not easy to defend that position.
“Connor Randall – all the long balls they played were in his space. If he was not a good header before this game, now he is much better! Because he had the chance to improve 20 or 30 times.
“I’m really fine with these guys. And, very importantly, the other players didn’t think because the manager did this it’s not such an important tournament. I saw in the eyes of all the players that they wanted to win tonight. That’s very important.”
Liverpool’s reward for overcoming the Cherries is a trip to Southampton in the next round. The tie will be played in the week commencing November 30.
So that’s what he thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your verdict below…
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