Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on reaching FA Cup final, beating Man City, Mane, Konate and more
Jürgen Klopp lauded his side's 'outstanding' first-half performance as Liverpool booked a place in the Emirates FA Cup final with a 3-2 victory over Manchester City at Wembley.
The Reds will now face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace in the tournament's showpiece next month after an impressive win in the last-four tie.
Ibrahima Konate opened the scoring early on in London before Sadio Mane netted twice to establish a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Goals from City's Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva set up a tense finish, though Klopp's men came through to secure a return to Wembley on May 14.
Semi-final highlights: City 2-3 Liverpool
Read on for a summary of the boss' post-match press conference...
On whether it was the best first-half performance he's overseen as Liverpool manager...
Yeah, I think so, it was the feeling I had after the game – or when I saw the first half – because of the quality of the opponent, which is why in the second half they demonstrated how good they really are. So, denying them in so many moments is so difficult and creating your own opportunities, using them, is obviously very difficult as well. The first half was outstanding in pretty much all parts of the game, I would say.
In the second half, they scored – like we did in the previous game – an early goal, then it's clear, it opens up. No football player on the planet feels safe against City with a 3-1 lead, it is always clear what they can do. There were moments when we defended well, but they were one time through and it was like, 'Oops!' It was really good; yes, we needed Ali, what a game he played, but had our own moments as well and could've decided the game earlier. We didn't do it and that makes it a bit more special – 3-0 against City would feel kind of strange. 3-2 is a fair result and this was still good enough to bring us to the final.
On whether making changes to the line-up makes a difference...
It always makes a difference, but most of the time for the good, let me say it like this – a difference in the right direction. We needed it. From here on, we have 10 games for sure, which is already an insane number, and we can qualify for an 11th game, which will be difficult as well for completely different reasons. So, it will be incredibly tough, but it's nice. When I speak about it, it's our situation and as long as we can make changes, we have to make changes to use the full quality of the squad and of the individual as well.
It is incredibly difficult, you play on Wednesday and then Saturday again and then Tuesday again and then Sunday. Then we go again Wednesday and bam, bam, bam, all these kind of things, so we have to try to find line-ups, find formations to be in each game as recovered as possible, but we need rhythm as well, so that's the tricky part. As long as the boys are all fit, it's all about decision-making before the game and in the game it is about decision-making from the boys. Fair enough, the boys have to be on top of the game and outside we have to be on top of the game as well.
On whether Liverpool can win the quadruple...
You can mention whatever you want, but it doesn't make it more likely. You won't get the answers you want from me. I think a game like today shows it even more how unlikely it is to do something like that. We went through now against City, which is incredibly difficult and intense, and in three days we play again against Man United, who with their three points today and the results from Tottenham and Arsenal, the fight for the Champions League, the door is open for all of the three. So, they will be on their toes and it is historically not a friendly game.
Then in a few days we play Everton, in the situation they are, it will not be a friendly game. Then we play Villarreal, will not be a friendly game. Then Newcastle and all these kind of things, so it's just incredibly intense and it is really unlikely the team will win all the games. With the FA Cup final now, I think the Southampton game will now be moved, if I am 100 per cent right, that means we play Southampton in the midweek and so, it's really unlikely. But I couldn't care less, to be honest, I couldn't. It is just, let's go for it, let's try to win the next game and then we will see how we can recover between now and then – and then and then and all these kind of things. We will see.
On the silence for the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster being cut short…
Of course [we accept the apology]. Of course. We never thought that this is Man City or whatever, it was some people who didn't understand the situation. That's not nice and it felt really wrong in that moment, but we cannot change that and it is nothing to do with City. Of course we accept the apology.
On Mane's performance and goals...
He played an incredible game, an absolutely incredible game. He was the first player to start the press, so it was intense for him as well. The first goal he scored, I love it. But I don't like too much that the goalie will get some criticism for it, but it's not about that because Zack can do what he wants in that situation, like Ederson did a week ago. These kind of things happen, with Ali and all these things. If you want to play football, that can happen. But the acceleration of Sadio, the desire to get there, it was really great.
So this goal was great and the other one was obviously proper football until the final pass with the little chip and then the volley – it was a great goal. Ibou scored now the third goal in his third start in a row, if I'm 100 per cent right, which is very helpful as well. Set-pieces are very important, especially [when] teams are a little bit more focused on Virgil, so it's really important that the second target player can use that maybe. He did it now three times, it's really cool.
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On Konate scoring from corners and Thiago Alcantara's display...
Is it a coincidence? No. Of course we work on it but unfortunately we work on set-pieces as well when we don't score in the games, so that's a little bit the tricky part. You need a good delivery, good movements, good timing, very important – we had that now a few times and they were all incredibly important. So long may it continue. That it's Ibou in that situation, it's not coincidence but you need the right runs in all different gaps. In this case, I think Robbo hits his gap, a little bit [of a] coincidence, I would say, but planned as well.
Thiago, top performance. But the whole midfield, that was football. Naby... Fab, compare the two games at City and now today, so you can see there how important it is when you can give players a rest in specific moments. It's not about they were not good or whatever. My boys always want but they still don't always deliver. Because I know them that well, it must be a physical reason, so we try to figure that out. He didn't play during the week and now could play today, that gave the midfield obviously nice rhythm, really nice rhythm today. A lot of top-class individual performances. Trent against Jack Grealish there, very often in one-v-one situations – that's most uncomfortable, to be honest, but he did really well, won important challenges [in the] first half where we could go away and these things.
Again, I said after the game at City, I thought, yes, we were slightly lucky, more lucky than City that we got a point there but we were not 100 per cent ourselves, because of City's quality of course but there's still some stuff to do by ourselves, and we stepped up today. We played much better than we did at City and that's why we deserved the win as well.
On his fist pumps to the Liverpool fans at the end of the game...
Millie told me I had to do it. I actually wanted to go but Millie said, 'You have to.' So I did it because of Millie. I think in this moment it's really important to say as well, because it was really special and we all felt it was really special, the atmosphere our people created here was second to none. The weather was perfect for the crowd and I loved each part of it. It was really outstanding.