Jürgen Klopp admitted the manner of Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur was hard to take after they were denied victory by a late penalty at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Mohamed Salah put the Reds in front after just three minutes on Merseyside, latching onto a loose backpass from Eric Dier and steering beyond Hugo Lloris.
The hosts held onto that advantage until the 80th minute when substitute Victor Wanyama found the top corner from range with a thumping half-volley after Loris Karius had punched clear a cross into the six-yard box.
However, the drama was only just beginning to unfold in L4 as Spurs were handed a penalty shortly after – but Karius held his nerve to repel Harry Kane’s blast down the centre.
Then, as the game crept into stoppage-time, Salah produced an incredible moment of solo brilliance to restore Liverpool’s lead as he somehow managed to wriggle into space inside a crowded area and loft the ball over Lloris.
But while Anfield was still celebrating, Tottenham were awarded another penalty when Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela – and Kane made no mistake second time around as he converted with virtually the game’s last kick to ensure the contest ended 2-2.
Read on for a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference…
On the game and the penalty decisions…
The game was a very intense game; two really good sides with real challenges. First half, a lot of moments when it could have been a free-kick but the ref said today, ‘OK, that’s the game, that’s allowed’, but the softest touch in the whole game decides the game. It’s not a penalty, it’s a situation. I heard Lamela was even offside in the situation with one leg. [He was] running into Virgil van Dijk, Virgil sees him in the last moment and stops the movement but still touches him, Lamela is already on the way down. The ref says ‘keep on going’, the linesman makes the decision – that’s how it is, that’s how everyone saw.
The first penalty was one of the clearest offside situations I have seen so far. In the moment when the ball left the foot of the Tottenham player, Harry Kane is offside and this situation never changed. Nobody touched it apart from Dejan, [so] my defence put him offside, that is good defending. I don’t know what they [match officials] discussed, but it’s not to change.
Over all of the 90 minutes, yes Tottenham had more possession but mainly in build-up in their own half. We had more possession in the opposite half. That was the game; they have their playing build-up, they have their wide formation. We wanted to press these situations, which is what we did especially in the first half in a fantastic way. We caused them a lot of problems, we scored an early goal and had much fantastic situations, crosses from everywhere and put them under pressure. But Tottenham are a good side - a really good side - so they had their moments in their first half and then especially in the second half.
We could have done better in the second half for sure, but it was very intense. They changed not a lot but they put Alli on 10 instead of Eriksen. Then they brought Lamela as a second 10 and they all are things that we saw and had to react on, but they didn’t create plenty of chances. They had a few moments, 100 per cent, and made a really good game, as my team did as well. In the end it was clear it would be a close result, so that’s what we got – a draw and we have accept it.
On Salah’s overall performance and his stunning second goal…
It was a fantastic goal, an outstanding goal. It was an outstanding performance, [he was] a threat the whole 90 minutes, that’s true. I saw now when I passed a [TV] screen, I saw the stats and it looks like Tottenham had the ball all of the time, but we had them really a lot in their own half and we let them play. First half, we were much higher. We played fantastic high pressure, it was unbelievably good, we created moments, we created chances. We had the cross from Trent and the header from Roberto Firmino - you would not count it as a chance, it was not a shot on target, but situations like that, we had a few.
We had the last situation of the first half when Mo unfortunately passed the ball as little bit too hard for Sadio, otherwise it would’ve been a chance. We had Sadio in a perfect position but he didn’t find the player. So Mo, to go back to your question, he scored both goals [and] the first one was so cool, to get the ball there and with or without a goalkeeper, it makes no difference - that's how it looked. And the second one was outstanding, but it’s really difficult to defend because I think everybody in the stadium, his teammates included, thought he would play a pass and in the end he did it by himself – that was probably in this moment the best idea.
When you think that a few minutes before you have a penalty against you, everybody was sure until a minute ago that it was offside and the players involved were 100 per cent sure. That feels unfair, it feels like ‘what’s going on here? You fight for everything and then they make a penalty like that?’ And then we score a goal like that and it felt quite good, but not for long.
On where Liverpool and Tottenham are at in terms of their progression…
On a good way, obviously, that’s how it is. But at the end, nobody is interested about that. We have to deliver, we have to get results. It was a home game, we lost the first one [the reverse fixture with Spurs] and now Tottenham have four points from us and that feels not right. The first game they deserved it, tonight I think we deserved it, but that’s how it is. Sometimes in life you need a little bit of help – if you don’t get that then it’s difficult.
How I said, they were really good but we were good as well. Because of how the game developed and because of a few other circumstances, they were more dominant in the second half, that’s true. They played in specific areas, we had to react on that and we tried to do that. We could’ve done a lot of things better but in the first half I think they were, in a few moments, really lucky that we didn’t score and in the second half and it’s not that they had chance after chance after chance. They had the ball and we defended it and in the last line especially it was really good, but now somebody will say Dejan Lovren made a mistake because he touched the ball in that situation [for the first penalty] so it was not offside. That’s our world, we cannot change that.