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Klopp Talk: “As Everyone Could See, It Was A Difficult Game”

The manager gives his report on a frustrating day at Anfield against Southampton.

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Liverpool v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This was not how today was supposed to go. With the first of three matches left, Southampton was supposed to be a chance to show that we’ve learned from past mistakes - having played them three other times this season previously. A chance to show that we deserved to be in third place and hold that spot, after Manchester City so cruelly overtook us the day before. Difficult, frustrating, any myriad of words to describe the heartache of today. Manager Jürgen Klopp was all too aware in his post-match press conference:

“As everyone could see, it was a difficult game, Southampton played in a specific way. A lot of people might say that everybody will now play here like this, but it will not be like this and if it is, we have solutions. We had them today, but you need to score at one moment and then they’re open and then we can do other things. They were very disciplined and very deep; we defended their counter-attacks much better than we did against Crystal Palace, for example.”

“In the end, it’s all about finishing or scoring one and we couldn’t do this. It made life not easy in the game. We tried until the end, but today was one of those days. Now we have only one point more, we wanted to have three points more, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s not exactly what we wanted and we are really disappointed about this, as you can imagine, but we will keep on going.”

Scoring didn’t come from lack of trying today, as Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster made 8(!) saves - including a penalty from James Milner - to keep the Reds from pulling ahead. What should’ve been an easy penalty was marred by interference from Southampton players and ended up in two yellow cards for the visitors and four added minutes of stoppage, but not a goal for Liverpool. Klopp had this to say about it:

“I really don’t like it, even after we only drew, to make now a story of it. You saw what happened, so you don’t need my say on it. It’s not how I understand how you should handle a situation like this. On one hand people will say it was very smart because Millie missed, but on the other people will say it’s not how sportsmanship works. It is how it is. It took a long time, it’s not nice, but in the end two yellow cards for them. But with this delay and the time play of Southampton - I don’t know how long Forster needed altogether for his kicks - four minutes [added time], I have to say that’s ambitious. But obviously I have nothing to do with it, I can’t decide and whatever we say, you always look then like bad losers or whatever. You saw it, write it and then if nobody reads it then obviously it’s no issue.”

All in all, the fight continues for a top four spot and with only two matches left, the pressure turns now to the trip to West Ham - another brutal team that Liverpool has struggled with in the past. Granted, the disappointment today is real, for everyone, but the team do have one more point than before and that’s something to value. The manager was sure to reiterate this to the boys after the match, and to the press:

“We are still fighting and nobody has given up or something like this. I spoke immediately after the game to the boys - I cannot and don’t want to take away the disappointment, but what I can say is that we have one point more than before. The best manager I’ve ever had, the most experienced and in much more difficult situations said always that at the end of the season, this point will be really valuable, and I believe in this so we will see. But now we have to analyse this game. It’s pretty much already done, but we will do it one more time and speak about it and then we start the preparation for the West Ham game.”

Liverpool play West Ham next Sunday, 2:15pm BST/9:15am EST.

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