Saying they shocked the world may be taking it a little far, but Liverpool were underdogs going into Thursday night's Europa League matchup with Borussia Dortmund for a reason, and their disciplined performance and encouraging result certainly took a lot of people by surprise. Dortmund average 2.79 goals per game at home this season, and have only failed to win at the Signal Iduna Park on three occasions, a statistic that puts the Reds' display in perspective. Keeping die Borussen from taking a single shot in the last half hour, as they were chasing the game in front of their home support, is nothing short of impressive.
As he is wont to, Jürgen Klopp was spot-on in his appraisal of the performance, and made it very clear that while the result was a good one, the tie is far from over:
"We saw the game – it’s still 50-50. Dortmund don’t care too much where they play and where they score goals.
"Of course they’re still in a very good position. But I think it was very important for us to show this Liverpool face.
"A lot of people thought a lot of things about our probable or possible performance, and maybe they are a little bit surprised.
"I’m really happy with the performance.
"The away goal is good and much better than a 0-0, 100 per cent better. But we have to play at our best in the rematch to go through.
"Nothing is decided. That’s good for all supporters and all people who love football; it will be another really tight clash and I’m looking forward to it."
Klopp's ability to accurately assess a match is immensely refreshing as a fan and terribly frustrating as a writer. There's not much to critique or disagree with, and no dramatic narrative to extract. 1-1 is a great result, Liverpool need to play just as well at home to advance, and the match will likely be an enjoyable viewing experience. Case closed. Endpoint.
Now, if the manager can get his tactics equally spot-on and the players can produce the same sort of application against Stoke on Sunday, Liverpool might be well on their way to securing their participation in European competition next season as well.