Jürgen Klopp offered good grades to every player who featured in Liverpool's thrilling 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League tie at Anfield.
- Report: Brilliant Reds earn two-goal lead over United
- Photos: How first-leg win was secured over rivals
The Reds were dominant throughout the clash and punctuated their performance with goals in either half from Daniel Sturridge – via the penalty spot – and Roberto Firmino.
Klopp was understandably delighted with the efforts of his whole team and called for a repeat at Old Trafford next week to secure progress to the tournament’s quarter-finals.
Read on for a summary of the manager’s post-match press conference.
On his team’s display…
It was good, from the first second until the last. There were a few minutes in the second half where we lost a little bit of control, so we changed the system and again needed a few minutes to adapt to the new system. Then we were back in the game and in control again. It’s not too important how you play against Manchester United, it’s always difficult to avoid chances. [But] there wasn’t really a lot, so that’s one of the best things about this game. Our game in the first half, we had more chances and could have scored more goals. But that’s how it is in football. We forced one goal with a perfect pass in the box. In the second half, scoring the second goal was very important. We did it and it was absolutely deserved. It was a great performance from the first until last second. It is only the first leg, we know that, but we needed to win and we did. That’s great. Now one week until the next game – we know it is not easy but we are in a good position and we want to go to the next round. For that, we have to play like this again in Manchester.
On the chances to score more than two…
[David] De Gea is a good goalkeeper, it’s no surprise. You have to carry on and create more chances, and score goals. In football, it’s really rare that you use each chance you have. It’s not too important how big they are; one or two were really big tonight but it’s absolutely OK. 2-0 is a perfect result. Of course, if possible we would have liked to win a little bit clearer, but everything is OK and there is nothing to criticise tonight.
On individual performances…
It’s not the first time that Clyney has played well and been very important for us. But tonight, if we start giving grades, if you want this, then there are a lot of good grades. Simon Mignolet, we can start with him, he was really good. Everything, absolutely no mistake in this game and it’s difficult to stay concentrated when you always know each cross or corner or each free-kick is really dangerous because [Marouane] Fellaini is on the pitch. Emre and Hendo did a brilliant job, Phil, Adam, great, Roberto, Daniel, as long as he was on the pitch, that was really good. The substitutes, Joe Allen when he came in [was] so important, so good. Divock Origi, [gave us] again the control of the game because they couldn’t play like they wanted because they knew each bad pass was a counter-attack because Divock and his speed is dangerous too. It was good, so I don’t have to compare the players – tonight I’m really pleased with all of them.
On not going over the top...
As a human being, I’m like this. I can really celebrate and I can be really happy after this and say that it is the best and the greatest. But why should I say this? I don’t want to set a limit for them. I don’t know how strong they can be and we need to be consistent, this is the end of the season. In all tournaments we are in an OK position, not more, but we can [achieve] a few things. That’s what we should try and for this we have to play like this tonight. You see it’s no problem on the physical side, hopefully it stays like this so we can run, we can play. We can play better. Even in the first half, because United didn’t make too much pressure we had a lot of time with the ball and again we lost a little bit of patience in this moment and played too risky passes, absolutely not necessary. We created our problems by ourselves, and staying patient, not creating our problems, that’s a big challenge for all of us. We have a lot of things to improve and we should do this but a lot of things were really good tonight. Pressing, counter-pressing, no time for nothing for Manchester United – that’s how it should be. Really good.
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