Jürgen Klopp expressed his satisfaction with Liverpool's performance and praised the decisive efforts of Simon Mignolet and Trent Alexander-Arnold after watching his side earn a hard-fought 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.
The Reds claimed a narrow victory in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying play-off tie in Germany on Tuesday, thanks in no small part to Mignolet’s early penalty save and Alexander-Arnold’s stunning 30-yard free-kick.
Those events meant Liverpool went in 1-0 up at the break, and Havard Nordtveit’s own goal - which came via James Milner’s shot - doubled their advantage 16 minutes from time.
Mark Uth pulled one back late on for Hoffenheim, but the Reds are in charge of the tie going into next Wednesday’s second leg at Anfield.
Read on for a full transcript of Klopp’s post-match press conference at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena…
On the result and Liverpool’s display…
I think it helps completely when you think that two-and-a-half hours ago, if somebody would have told me we’d win tonight I would’ve taken each result, even an 8-7. So I’m happy about the result, yes, I’m not happy about the goal they scored. I think they deserved a goal over the 90 minutes with their effort, but I also thought we played defensively really well because it was actually the plan to let them play in the spaces which are for us, not dangerous, not interesting and they have a specific style of play which is very good and really difficult to defend, so I thought we did really well and caused them a lot of problems with this.
LFCTV GO: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool in 90 seconds
Yes, they had their moments, especially with diagonal balls when they changed a little bit their style of play and because we gambled a bit on both offensive wings, leaving Trent and Alberto alone so they could cross. I saw the penalty, I think it was offside – small but enough. Simon, together with John Achterberg, did a really good job. It was a decisive moment, of course, not the decisive moment but it gave us a boost and is a little bit of a blow for the other team. We scored two goals and could’ve scored more, really good set-pieces from us, good headers that were unlucky, especially in the 47th minute I think, when Dejan with a great header and Joel, he played outstanding good but I would’ve scored in that moment! All good, so far. It’s half-time, no more, but also no less.
On Alexander-Arnold’s confidence to take the free-kick…
I have to say for an 18-year-old who has the confidence to kick a free-kick like that, that is rather exciting and interesting for me than a little mistake. It was a very intensive match for him, he still has a little few things to learn, but he is a really great player and I’d rather have this 2-1 than a 1-0.
On why Trent took the free-kick…
It was actually because I told him he has to do it. I don’t want the credit for the free-kick because he can shoot free-kicks better than I ever could. I watched as many U23 games as I could and when he was there he already took the free-kicks and the goals are a similar size! Maybe the walls are a little smaller, it’s possible, but he is good in this and there is a big challenge after training always between him and Ben Woodburn. Both are good and both are improving in this. It is to his credit; maybe in this situation it helps when the manager says Trent takes it and nobody else. In this situation, Alberto was also there for left-foot free-kicks, but it was good. Maybe it was a little bit lucky, you saw it because the wall did not jump, but it was a very good free-kick and very important for us. The second goal also wasn’t too bad from a little bit of an older player – Millie came on and had a big impact on the game. He did brilliantly and was very important for us today. Hendo had a long injury break and a really intense pre-season, so I was really happy I could bring him off a few minutes earlier today and then bring on Millie, which helped us a lot.
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