James Carroll and Chris Shaw
Jürgen Klopp described Liverpool’s 3-2 win against Atletico Madrid as a « real fight » in his assessment of a sensational Champions League game after the game.
The Reds took the lead with two goals in the 13th minute of Group B at Estadio Metropolitano in the 13th minute, with Mohamed Salah’s deflected shot and Naby Keita’s fabulous volley.
Diego Simeone’s La Liga defending champion fought before the break thanks to a double from Antoine Griezmann, who was sent off at the beginning of the second half for a high boot, back to the level.
Salah scored a penalty in the 78th minute to take advantage of To restore guests and after the referee reversed his original decision to award the hosts a penalty afterwards, Liverpool moved up five points in the group.
Yes it was. That doesn’t surprise me – if these two teams face each other, then I would say some drama is guaranteed. Both teams are real combat units, are used to fighting for the things they want to achieve, and that is clear. Of course, the story of the game is a special one because it is not very often, so easily, that you take a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes against Atletico. I’ve said it a couple of times now, but it’s still true, the human brain can be your greatest enemy. We got this situation completely wrong. We wanted to control the game incorrectly, played in the wrong rooms and of course gave away two cheap goals. The set piece is a nice routine that we knew we could have defended better. And on the other goal, I think we all agree: I think we’ve never conceded a goal like this, it really didn’t look good. That’s 2-2.
At halftime, I thought that everyone in the room who saw the game was like, « Okay, Atletico are on the winning side now, so it’s only going to go one way. » But we thought, “We’re still here so let’s try it.” I told the guys at halftime, it’s really positive because we know a lot more about them now than we did before the game, we just have to Use the right rooms and play in the right rooms and then everything will be fine. We tried that, but then of course the game got even more dramatic with the choices and the things that happened.
I’ve heard it many times now. Of course, I understand that Atletico people or Spaniards are upset or don’t like the decisions, but I think our penalty is a clear one. And the penalty for Atletico is not, in my opinion, a penalty. But when he whistled it I was a bit surprised that they took it back because I only saw it once and I didn’t think it was a penalty, it was clear what they wanted at that moment. And the red card, of course it’s bad luck, but I think it’s a red card – you can’t change that, your foot is in your face, you get red cards for that. It’s not cool, but it happened. That’s pretty much the story of the game.
We still had to defend with everything we had because even with 10 men they were pretty intense to play. But the dirty three points are very often the most important, and of course they were dirty tonight. It wasn’t our best football, but we got it and that’s a big step.
Yes, absolutely. If you win games like this, you can say that this is the experience we have had in the last 46 Champions League games that we have played together. But we have quality, we have the quality to end these situations. The goals we scored were brilliantly done, played really well – Mo cuts in, great shot, not sure if it was deflected or not, haven’t seen it yet. Then of course the other goal, everyone is almost in a perfect position and Naby is safe and a nice end. Dealing with situations like this … the time we are in is really intense. So would I choose exactly the same line-up again? Not sure. But we had so many things to consider: who played who didn’t play, who played where. I think in the end we had too many players on the pitch who have now played all the games for their national teams, the last game in the Premier League and stuff. There is never just one reason for things. My boys always want to [play well], that’s what I love most about them. And when they can’t in moments, it’s mostly my fault. We fought our way through tonight. The experience helped a little, but not too much tonight.
We’re not that confident, to be honest. We know our struggles, we know our problems, but very often we try to ignore them. Tonight there were two confident teams playing against each other and I’m pretty sure if you measure the confidence of Diego Simeone and me, I’m 100 percent sure he would win, and for all the right reasons. Tonight was just a real fight – it wasn’t about this team, this game. Nobody can win just because they’re the better team, no chance. Both teams are real fighters and you saw that tonight. And in two weeks you will see it again. It’s not a game I’m looking forward to, you think, « Okay, my god, back in two weeks. » We can use that.
I don’t know exactly how much possession was tonight, but I think Atletico will let us play 11v11 if you’ve seen the same game as me. That’s how they play and I’m not the football pope! It doesn’t matter what I say to be honest. There are some things I like in life, some I don’t like that much, but I can still respect them. I have a lot of respect for what you are doing here. I couldn’t, I’m not the same guy as Diego. How long has he been here? ten years? Incredibly successful, why should you play the football I like? They play the football they like and that’s fine.
First and foremost, it had nothing to do with Naby – we just had to defend the right side a little better. We were a little too far, but Naby scored a goal and that kind of thing and I’ve already talked to him. It is very important to me that nobody thinks that we played the first half – or the second part of the first half – because of Naby. Not at all, he’s in really good shape, but he played three games for Guinea there and the last Premier League game 90 minutes and then today. As I said, I think 45 minutes is absolutely right. Thank you Ali [Alisson Becker] for saying I said the right things, that’s actually the plan, but I don’t remember exactly what I said. What I started with was primarily very positive because we knew a lot more about them than we did before the game; We know exactly where the rooms are, where we have to play, we just didn’t do it and we showed two situations.
Five players in the back, three in midfield and two forwards, more or less not really in defense involved – a little, but not really, just there for the counterattack. Of course there is space next to the three midfielders and we can play there, but from there you have to play in the center again. We had too many easy passes around the formation and not in or through the formation. At 2-2 it was clear that I would never have expected them to chase us with the ball now. They turned the game exactly the way they wanted from the start, defended in the right rooms, won the ball, and got going. They haven’t changed so we had to go back to what we wanted from the start. We did that.
You could see the intensity of the game, it makes sense to do everything right, to score as many goals as possible while you’re fresh, because later in a game, especially in an intense game , you don’t have the power to do it anymore. So we just had to fight our way through and we did. This game won’t be included in our book of the best games we’ve ever played, it won’t be part of it, but it was a very important one. [A book with] very important games, then it might be in there, but not the best games. To win against Atletico while they are with Diego will never be easy, not in a day. We made it anyway and I’m really proud of that.
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