Benfica 1-3 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp's reaction

Press conferenceBenfica 1-3 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp's reaction

Published 5th April 2022
By James Carroll and Chris Shaw in Lisbon

Jürgen Klopp stressed Liverpool’s view that it is only ‘half-time’ after they moved into a 3-1 lead over Benfica in their Champions League quarter-final.

Goals from Ibrahima Konate, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz secured a first-leg advantage for the Reds at Estadio da Luz on Tuesday night.

Read on for a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference in Lisbon… 

On whether the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story of the game…

No, it doesn’t tell the whole story, but the most important things of the story pretty much because we came here for a result. I didn’t expect the game being any easier, I knew. I have to say, big compliment to Benfica, they really fought for their lives, especially after we opened the door a little bit for them. It was clear when they scored that the crowd will be back and the atmosphere was really, really good. And good football teams tend to use that. But we could calm them down immediately a little bit with the three changes. I think it helped. The other boys worked really hard but they have all a tough period they’re going through. That’s why it was helpful that we could bring fresh legs.

Then the game was slightly more open than I would have wished, of course, but we scored the third one and I think everybody agrees we could have scored more goals, maybe should have. How I said, big compliment to Benfica but anyway, the best player of Benfica was the goalie probably. That says a lot. It’s half-time, we are two goals up. We were in half-time today two goals up and we knew it wasn’t over. That’s exactly the same information we have now. Now they have to come to Anfield and we have to use that.

Highlights: Benfica 1-3 Liverpool

On the importance of being able to manage players’ minutes…

It makes all the difference. Hopefully at one point this discussion will stop, about having an advantage with changing five times. It’s a necessity. It’s April, we have already, I don’t know exactly what, but around about 49 club games plus the games the boys played for their countries, and all the decisions will be made from now on. So the boys have to really dig deep and fight with all they have. But the more often you have the chance then to share this intensity, the better it is for the players obviously and the better it is for the game. Both teams could do it tonight, they made five changes as well I’m pretty sure. So, all good.

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On whether the tie is ‘closed’ and whether he made changes tonight with an eye on Sunday’s clash with Manchester City…

Good questions, very good questions – both answers are no and no. The tie is not closed because it’s half-time and we know that. We knew in half-time today that it’s not done. Would have wished we wouldn’t have given them the opportunity to come back in the game, but that’s football, they deserved it, completely fine with that. It’s an away game in the Champions League in the quarter-final – if that would be easy, something would be wrong with the competition. But it’s a great competition. Benfica didn’t get the quarter-final as a present, they came through an incredibly tough group and played against one of the most talented teams in Europe with Ajax. And here they are. Today they really wanted to go for it and they will want to go for it. We have usually a very good atmosphere on European nights as well. This time, I hope and I’m pretty sure it will help us. But it’s not closed. And I didn’t think a second until now about the City game, so I could not make decisions because of the City game when we don’t think about it.

On Fabinho’s fitness after his clash of heads...

There’s a little cut. He’s fine, that’s how it looks. He had a cut on the back of his head and obviously there is no hair that could hold the blood back. That’s why they needed a bit of time, but he should be completely fine.

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On how important the coming weeks will be in defining the season...

Ask me after it. If you win against City, which is already difficult enough, I think nobody would think, ‘OK, that’s it decided’ because of the quality of the opponent. We play now against the best team in the world, that’s how it is, but we will give it a try anyway. That’s it, pretty much. So, what we did in the last few months – six, seven, eight months – since the season started, we created the basis, and a better basis you cannot create. We are in the quarter-final, the semi-final [of the Emirates FA Cup] but the further you go in competitions, the harder it gets. That’s unfortunately the truth – you barely reach a final and play against a team and win 8-0. That doesn’t happen. The Chelsea final was incredibly intense, two top-class sides and that is how all the games will be for us from now on.

We know it already, since late December it was clear if we want to achieve something we better win all our games. This is not really likely, we know, but that’s why we take it game by game and then it’s maybe a little bit more possible, but it will be really tough. Yes, everybody knows about the importance of the next game, but after this game there will be other games in other competitions but in the Premier League as well, so if you cannot be first you want to be second. If you are behind, you want to come closer, that’s all. If you are close, you want to overtake. That’s the situation and, how I said, we will give it a proper try.

Published 5th April 2022