Math was a recurring theme in press conferences during Brendan Rodgers' tenure at Liverpool; there were the seventy plus goals needed to get into the champions league; there were the nine and a halfs and false tens playing up top; and of course, there was the ubiquitous and impossible one hundred and fifty seven percent of effort that was expected of players in every training session and every game. Some of this was useful, most of it not.
Because of this, there is a certain reflexive trepidation that visits this writer when managers start bringing up numbers and percentages in the aftermath(s) of a game. Luckily, Jürgen Klopp kept the numbers relatively straight forward:
"It wasn’t a boring game. It was a very interesting game, a big challenge because of the quality of Rubin Kazan.
"Everybody could see they are not too bad – very experienced, very cool when they got the ball. They didn’t have it too often but when they had the ball they were really good.
"They got the first goal and that’s one of the biggest challenges in football. You are in a good moment, your direction is OK, you’re in the game, your concentration is high and you’re playing football and you have this. You need to restart in the game but we did it well and made our goal.
"Before that they got the red card. Sometimes it’s a big advantage against 10; most of the time it’s a really thankless job because now they stop playing football. Now they defend in a big, compact block.
"That’s what we had to do better tonight, but we had our moments, we hit the post with Christian. We had some other moments – good chances – but at the end, no goal.
"So I would say 98 per cent OK, not perfect, but the last two per cent – the decisive per cent – we missed. That was the problem this evening."
Liverpool fans will be familiar with those missing two per cent, seemingly always standing between the club and glory for the past two decades. Nonetheless, the home crowd produced a vintage Anfield European Night performance to welcome their new manager, and it did not go unnoticed:
"It was a warm welcome. It was one of the best moments for me tonight, but not the most important.
"Of course, it’s important for all of us and better that people don’t think I should stay outside the stadium, but we don’t have to talk too much about it.
"You can be sure I felt everything positive tonight but then I tried to be concentrated on the game. Usually when I do this, I don’t hear too much during a game because it is work for me and work for the team.
"But, of course, when you come into a new house for the first time, you will receive a [housewarming] present – and I am not quite satisfied with my present tonight, but it was only the first time and I will be back again and then maybe it will be better!"
The home fans will have another chance to push their team forward on Sunday, as Southampton visit Anfield for Klopp's home league debut. All non-Soton parties involved will be crossing their fingers for a better housewarming present.