These are the days that Jürgen Klopp lives for.
A bright spring day, a meeting with his side’s local rivals, the players and the fans knit together in common cause, high drama, suspense, romance, and, at the end, triumph. Liverpool came out on top in the 228th Merseyside Derby with a self-assured 3-1 win over Everton. Conflict with the officials notwithstanding, this day could’ve hardly gone better for the Liverpool manager.
Speaking with reporters after the match, Klopp praised his squad for the result and, especially, the manner in which it was produced.
“I thought it was deserved. Like always, you have to learn a little bit about the game. We knew about the intensity, and we needed to be ready for that. We were. After the first few minutes, we controlled the game. We found the spaces between the lines, brought Phil into really good positions. I said to the players before the game that we needed be really smart AND emotional, but not only emotional, and I thought they did really well. We controlled it, scored fantastic goals, then when it got wild in the last 15 minutes we defended with passion...all good!”
Klopp singled out the emotional dimension of derbies and praised how his side handled things.
“In all three derbies we have played, we were exactly like this. I know that people from other clubs think I am crazy because I look like I look. Sorry about this! I'm really emotional, but my teams are always top of the fair play table because I think aggression only hurts yourself. Being really hard means to be hard against yourself. We dealt well with the importance of the game, showed that we would do everything and that we would play football, use our football tools.”
The Reds manager also discussed why he admonished the Kop for singing his name before the final whistle had gone.
“I'm not that important that we have to talk about this, am I? I have said it a few times; the crowd can do what they want but I thought in this moment, I don't know why, that the game still had five or six minutes to go. I thought 'how can they start singing now?' It's difficult for me to understand, and I think it's really not important. For me it's kind of a sign that we think it's done. The game is done when the final whistle goes, not before.”