ReactionJürgen Klopp press conference: Union SG 2-1 Liverpool

By James Carroll and Glenn Price in Brussels


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Jürgen Klopp was pleased with the efforts from his Liverpool side in the 2-1 defeat at Union SG to close out the group stage of the Europa League.

The Reds, who clinched top spot in Group E and a place in the Round of 16 ahead of matchday six, were beaten in Belgium by Cameron Puertas' goal towards the end of the first half.

Jarell Quansah had scored his first goal for the club to equalise after the opener from Mohammed Amoura, but the Puertas hit settled the affair at Lotto Park.

Read on for a transcript of Klopp's post-match press conference…

On the result and Liverpool's performance...

I think we definitely all saw the same game, so for us it was a deserved win for Union. Even though I heard now the first goal might have been offside but nobody can tell properly. We will see that, but who cares? They are well set up, they are top of the table, they played a stronger side, I mixed up the team completely, so I think the changes we made, the amount of changes, were too much for rhythm. We needed to grow into the game. I am really happy that happened in the second half more and more and that we gave it a game, a proper game in the end. Before that, they gave us possession, won the balls on counter-attack and it was really tricky, to be honest.

It was pretty intense on a really difficult pitch. It was not great and you saw how intense it was, a couple of players had cramps for Union. So, in the end we could have scored the equaliser and it would have been nice, we would have loved to have got the point here. For some it was a really important experience and for others good for rhythm. I saw good performances and, of course, as a team it is not a fair assessment if I say now they are top of the table in Belgium and we come here, bring kids – altogether that's really difficult. But I thought we gave it a go and that's OK for me. Nobody got hurt, nobody is injured, so we recover, go home and go again.

On giving Ibrahima Konate a start...

We just wanted to share the intensity. Do I want to play Joe Gomez 90 or Ibou 90 if we had the chance to do that? [I decided] 45 and 45, the same in midfield. These changes were planned before the game, independent of the result. We just tried to give it a go. It was clear that Jarell if he could play through then he would play through. That was the thinking behind it.

On what he made of Conor Bradley's display and whether he could be a 'real solution' at right-back...

He will be, he will be. Conor is a top player, I like him a lot. His attitude is outstanding, he's a real fighter. And how everybody in the first half was, we were struggling, we were struggling, we lost balls in the wrong moments and it's really difficult. I would never judge a player after a game like this and tell, 'OK, he's obviously not good enough' or whatever. I know how good they are because I see them every day in training and tonight is an important experience. I don't think any career ever started without these kind of games where you have to struggle, where you have to fight through, where you have to survive – and Conor, especially, did. We found a way into the game, had good moments, really good moments and other moments where he knows he can improve and he has to learn. He's still young. But that's part of development.

On Quansah scoring his first goal for the club...

It was important. I think we all know against Crystal Palace that he played not a bad game against Palace but if you are then that involved in kind of the penalty, a strange one, but we are involved, that's not cool. And I am really happy that he could see the other side of the metal and score this goal today. That's what I liked the most from all of the boys – that they really gave it a proper go. And that's most important that we don't think, 'OK, it's difficult, they are a really good team and do what they do every week.' We have to find a way to get used to each other. And especially Jarell, with either side Ibou and then Joe in the second half, that was really good. They had to defend big spaces in the counter-attacks and I thought they did that really. So, really happy for him.



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