Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool FC manager

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on 'super-special' Newcastle victory, match-winner Nunez, Van Dijk's red card and more

By Sam Williams and James Carroll at St. James' Park


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Jürgen Klopp said he had never experienced anything like Liverpool’s ‘super-special’ 2-1 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park, achieved thanks to Darwin Nunez’s late double and despite Virgil van Dijk being sent off in the first half.

Nunez buried an unstoppable equaliser soon after coming on as a late substitute and then displayed ice-cool composure to notch again in the third minute of stoppage time as the Reds, shorn of their captain following his 28th-minute dismissal, came from behind to claim victory in dramatic fashion.

Anthony Gordon had given Newcastle the lead midway through the first period, with Van Dijk shown a straight red card for a foul on Alexander Isak just moments later.

However, Klopp’s team showcased impressive resolve and quality to respond and snatch all three points in unforgettable style.

Read on for a transcript of the manager’s post-match press conference.

On what the end to the game says about the spirit and determination of his players…

For today, absolutely everything. I think in my 1,000 games as a coach or a manager I never had a game like this, that’s the truth. Not that we never turned games [around], we did that, but 10 men in an atmosphere like this against an opponent like this – it’s not that I can’t remember, I’m pretty sure it never happened because these moments are rare and super-special. But I thought the boys deserved it today because with 10 men we played better and gave Newcastle a proper game. Before that it was a bit wild with, obviously, advantages for Newcastle with the 1-0. We didn’t play calm enough, we felt under pressure when we wouldn’t have to.

At half-time we showed the boys one situation, it was an offensive situation where Trent passed the ball behind the line to Cody Gakpo, where he comes from the left wing onto the right wing, where we can just get into their box and having finishing situations. Two things were clear at half-time, or three things have to happen: Trent cannot get another yellow card, we cannot concede a second, and if that happens then we have a chance. And the boys, they were ready to work super-hard and… I think before Darwin scored we had already chances. What I remember now is when Diogo passed to Mo, which unfortunately [was blocked], but we had our moments and that’s important, that’s important. I think a year ago [last season at St. James’ Park] we were in a similar situation, we were 2-0 up, then red card, then we didn’t play football anymore. So it is obviously difficult, it is not that easy, and I can imagine how Eddie [Howe] and Newcastle is feeling now, these things happen but usually you win anyway. That didn’t happen today because my boys kept believing and I am really happy about that.

On the momentum in the game changing when Harvey Elliott and Diogo Jota came off the bench…

The other boys just worked extremely hard, that’s super-intense for so long and we thought we made the changes early to do that. Diogo is a top player. He was ill two days again, he might have started or not, who knows, but he is a top player coming on, and Harvey throws his heart on the pitch to help his team. After the next change he played even as a double No.6, when we brought Darwin on: a position, in a game like this, that he didn’t play often I’m pretty sure. Yeah, Darwin gets the headlines and rightly so because whatever we did before, if he is not doing that we are sitting here playing a good game and losing 1-0 and going home with no points. That is a completely different feeling. That’s how it looked, actually, for pretty long but Newcastle didn’t get through really and we had, I think, the Diogo and Mo situation when I think everybody in the stadium then thought, ‘Oops, we have to be careful there as well.’ Until then it was just possession and we had our little moments. So, super-special for us today, super-special.

Darwin Nunez forward
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On whether Nunez has done enough to start Liverpool’s game against Aston Villa next week…

I never made a decision about the line-up the week before the game, we will see. But you can have worse arguments, I would say.

On what he said to Nunez before bringing him on and what his brace could do for the No.9 moving forward…

Definitely what I said to Darwin had no influence on his performance. Pep Lijnders can speak to him and that’s what he did, I just give him a hug and encourage him to go out there and fight for the team. That’s it. Darwin, we had that before, he is not happy for not starting, that’s how it is but somebody, in this early stage of the season, cannot start. We cannot have 11 players and play them all the time, so we need to find stability is the discussion… I don’t know if the public discusses it but of course players are not happy [when they do not start].

Darwin Nunez: I'm very happy and I'd like to congratulate my teammates

ReactionDarwin Nunez: I'm very happy and I'd like to congratulate my teammatesDarwin Nunez paid tribute to the 'mental strength' of the Liverpool squad after his heroics in the incredible 2-1 victory at Newcastle United on Sunday.

But after the international break we play every three days and nobody can play all the games so we have to make sure we have different options to go for. And we need to create a new way to play football and, of course, Darwin can be a super part of that. His key strengths are exceptional, absolutely, but we need to find stability as well. So, for him everything will be fine but it is just maybe it had to be like this – if he wouldn’t have been that angry and started the game today, he wouldn’t score two in the last six minutes or whatever, so let’s take it like that.

On whether he could describe his emotions when the second goal went in...

No, nowadays I don’t celebrate these goals too much anymore because I was not sure if it was offside or whatever. I was pretty sure there was no offside, but anyhow then a minute or so later when I think [the] VAR check was over, the boys heard it on the touchline behind me, they were then really celebrating, then I felt massive relief. How I said, at half-time... the way we played after the red card gave us the feeling we can do something here. We don’t concede, stay calm, defend with passion, play with an idea, and we have a chance to get a point here. I have a point, obviously, and in the end more with what the boys did.

On whether he can describe the spirit that his team has...

No, I don’t know. We have to create a spirit. That’s how it is. We are early, it’s early in the season, the atmosphere and the understanding of the boys is super, we had top camps; that’s all great. But the spirit is something different so it’s what you make of it. Of course, do I like that we have two games with 10 men? No. Probably Ibou Konate’s injury is because we had 10 men against Bournemouth. That’s the truth. It was intense, it’s not a massive injury, but it’s a little bit and I will see what we had today. So, 70 minutes in the Premier League, did you hear a lot that it leads to a turnaround in a game? I can’t remember, but big stories need key moments and we will see. We will see what it is. I cannot sit here and say, ‘OK, where we are now, we know how it goes.’ No. We are fresh, we have new key players in the team and we have to create key moments and this today was definitely a key moment. That’s why I’m pretty happy.

On whether Trent Alexander-Arnold should have received a second yellow in the first half...

As an observation, not a sending-off... there’s a foul on Trent Alexander-Arnold, which is not given clear in front of the fourth official [and he] says to me, ‘Yes, it’s a foul.’ The ref doesn’t give it and then Trent kicks the ball away – his fault. Done. Yellow. Next situation is the thing, if you want a second yellow, if he gives it, he gives it, but I didn’t think it is. You need to have this little space to keep a game going. Take him off, there’s an arm over... then what’s your curiosity of a football game? I am not sure that’s how it should be.

On Van Dijk’s red card...

I don’t think it is a red card. It’s pretty much no contact, very little, and it’s on the way to the ball, but what can I say? The decision is like this, I cannot change it and I don’t want it. It’s just, would I give this in a training game? Definitely not. There are reasons why I am not a ref and they are.

On whether Joel Matip’s substitution, which saw Jarell Quansah come on for his Premier League debut, was due to an injury...

No, no. The big man looked a bit tired, let me say it like this. It is long ago the boys now played a full 90 minutes, these kind of things. Joey played obviously 70 and we have Quansah. It’s great. He’s a real talent. He played two really good passes, super-important passes, I would say. Defensively we needed luck a little bit, we were a bit too deep, a bit too passive, they could shoot but we have Ali. There were, obviously, besides the result a few nice stories and bringing Quansah on is one of them.



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