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Jürgen Klopp "Proud" After Liverpool Gain Advantage in Semi-Final

Liverpool's manager witnessed an impressive response to defeat at Upton Park at the Britannia Stadium.

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In his post-match press conference, Jürgen Klopp expressed concern over injuries as well as pride after a solid away performance in a match where many thought Stoke City could well hurt Liverpool. Mark Hughes' side had registered recent victories at the Britannia Stadium against both Manchester City and Manchester United. Bojan Krkić, Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay, and Marko Arnautović have changed the type of football that Stoke play under Hughes.

Liverpool, however, were in no mood to be as accommodating as the Manchester clubs and secured a slender victory. It wasn't quite perfect for Klopp, but it was enough.

If we’d scored one or two goals more then maybe [it would have been perfect]. In this part of the season after the last game, it is always easy to criticise things – you can say we have to make this better, or make that better. But as a football game with our start, how we continued, how we stood in the game and how we defended first the playing build-up of Stoke, then the long balls, and how smart we were in defensive things, with pressing, coming out and moving - it was really good. But it’s a big, big shadow for us over the game that we cannot ignore – we have two injuries [Coutinho and Lovren] and I honestly don’t know how serious they are. They did not look too good and so we have to wait. At 1-0, or even 2-0, nothing is decided in the first leg of a semi-final.

Klopp went on to describe the injuries as "not good" and the experienced Kolo Touré as "outstanding," which isn't surprising considering the evening's events. Taking time to underline his transition from anger to pride was notable, because Liverpool needed to respond in a semi-final after being turned over against West Ham United. Liverpool have shown under Klopp that grand occasions aren't a hindrance to what the players can produce and continued that trend to take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg.

Dejan Lovren and Philippe Coutinho—thankfully it appears Kolo Touré only had cramp—are all unlikely be available for the semi-final second leg, which makes the need for dipping into the transfer market all the more pressing. Hamstring injuries aren't a matter of being out for a few days. The absence of freshly-injured Mamadou Sakho before the game combined with Martin Škrtel's hamstring injury leaves Liverpool just one senior centre back available for selection.

Despite the injuries, it was another forward step for Liverpool. The question remains whether Liverpool possess the consistency and the depth for further words of pride to be delivered in post-match assessments.

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