Klopp on Roma first leg, Salah “genuis” and Ox injury

Klopp on Roma first leg, Salah “genuis” and Ox injury
Jürgen Klopp credited his players for a ‘brilliant’ performance despite two late AS Roma strikes that reduced Liverpool’s lead to 5-2 in their Champions League semi-final.

The Reds led the Italian side by five goals midway through the second half of the first leg at Anfield as Mohamed Salah scored two and created two, with Sadio Mane notching the third goal and Roberto Firmino adding a brace of his own.

A fairytale scoreline was damaged in the closing stages, however. Edin Dzeko beat Loris Karius from close range and substitute Diego Perotti converted a penalty.

Aside from the disappointment of a potentially serious injury for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the manager was satisfied with the night’s work – and believes the game showed Liverpool can complete the job at the Stadio Olimpico next Wednesday.

Read a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference below…

His verdict on the performance and the mood in the dressing room…

To be honest, the biggest blow for the mood in the dressing room is the injury of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Conceding two goals is not what you want, 100 per cent, but it’s not to change anymore and we can deal with that. That’s football. The boys played a brilliant game over a very long period, even the last few minutes when we conceded. Dejan played a world-class game, was outstandingly good, and this ball he misjudged – he was a little bit too early. That’s usually no problem if the full-back is in the right position. Trent, who played an outstanding game – a world-class game – is not in the right moment because Dejan won all the balls before. When he [Dzeko] is in a good position, he can score.

Now we have to work again in Rome. That’s no problem. There would have been work for us to do if we’d won 5-0 because Roma would have tried everything to strike back anyway. That’s not a big difference. And what I learned tonight is that we can win the second game as well, even when it will be different. Roma need to score goals against us. I said it a few times and it should not sound like a warning or whatever, but we are not Barcelona. They are one of the two or three best teams in the world and they won so many things in the last few years. We didn’t. So we will fight with all we have for that result again. It’s much better than I could have expected before the game, but now in the moment of course I feel the two goals we conceded still.

But I’m already in the Stoke game, to be 100 per cent honest. I’m much more interested about the Stoke game in the moment than about the second leg against Roma. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the atmosphere tonight was absolutely outstanding, what you can expect if you are 5-0 in the lead. The people really enjoyed it. So I say to everybody who has a ticket: I expect exactly the same atmosphere on Saturday at 12.30 because we need it. That’s a massive game for us and we need to be ready for that. We’ll try everything to be ready for that.

Whether Salah is currently the best player in the world…

In that shape, outstanding – pretty much not to defend, to be honest. In the first 15 minutes we needed to learn a little bit, to adapt to the formation of the opponent. Then we played how we played. He has a massive impact on that, of course. I like the other boys as well, of course. The first goal is just a genius strike; he scored already a few like this – that makes it even more special. It makes it clear it is no coincidence. The second goal was brilliant play. Bobby between the lines, turns, makes that run and passes the ball. He [Salah] is quite cool in the moment, that’s true. Then he makes the other two goals. If anybody wants to say that it was my mistake that we conceded two goals because I changed the striker, I have no problem with that. I cannot be only in one game. Actually, I thought we didn’t prepare our passes that well anymore. We shot them behind the line and Mo was running for all of them. It would not have helped us, to be honest, if he got any injury. That was the reason for that. That’s it. What a player.
If you think he’s the best in the world, write it or say it. He is in outstandingly good shape, in world-class shape, 100 per cent. That’s good. To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period, I think. There are a few others who are not too bad. He is a fantastic player and I’m really happy to have him.

If he expects to see a different Roma in the second leg…


The number of one-on-ones Liverpool’s front three enjoyed…

We thought they’d play the other system and when we saw the line-up, we knew about the system, of course. It’s not a system problem or whatever, we did really well. We prepared these passes in behind, we made these runs in behind, they are difficult to defend with our speed. It was not one second easy, it was a lot of work to do to come into these positions and the boys did the work.


Mohamed Salah

Salah’s impact and how different the game would have been if he had still been playing for Roma…

I’m really not interested in that answer, to be honest. It is like it is. If Neymar doesn’t go to PSG, Phil Coutinho is probably still here. That would have made life not much easier, so it’s all if, if, if. For Roma, it is like it is. Yes, we hoped that he would have that impact, to be honest. Yes, he plays a season which is obviously – because everybody is excited about it – not normal. We hope and try to help him so he can continue like that. That’s the job to do. It’s a team game, but you need the players to make the decisions to make the decisive things. Obviously he is very good at making decisive things, so we are really happy we could get him in the summer.


Whether Oxlade-Chamberlain’s season could be over…

It looks like this, unfortunately. We don’t know it exactly but if the medical department is quite concerned without a scan then you can imagine it is difficult. The season is not that long anymore, so it doesn’t look good. I am a very positive person and still hope that he only feels bad and is not that bad, but we will see that. I see in your faces, maybe you are a little bit surprised I am not flying, mood-wise. It’s just we lost a fantastic player tonight and that is not good news, so I am not really in the mood to talk about specific, fantastic things. We have to do a job again in Rome, that’s no problem and we expected that before. We will go there and play as good as possible for us. I know since I am in, Liverpool always has to take the slightly more difficult way. It’s again like this, but in the end – very often – Liverpool still succeeded and that’s what we will try with all we have. [It was] a very positive result tonight. Not as positive as possible, but the performance was very positive. If one of my players doesn’t think that Roma will try to come back, he will not play.

Whether goals will be conceded because of Liverpool’s attack-minded approach…

Not really. We were completely solid in defence. It happens one time they play a long ball into the box, which we had defended before and was not even a chance. That can happen, it is nothing to do with defending and it’s not about criticism. I know what people say, ‘that’s Dejan Lovren – world-class and then one mistake’, yet all the big ones make mistakes. That happens constantly. Mats Hummels made bigger mistakes, to be honest, and he is a world-class centre-half. It’s not about that. We didn’t give any space away; it was not that we were completely open because we are all offensive and then they had one chance after the other. It was not like that, we controlled the game in a very nice football way – good to watch, even for me. Now it is not over, that’s why somebody thought, ‘let’s play one leg here and one leg in Rome’. It is more exciting and that’s what we do now.

Source: www.liverpoolfc.com


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