Jürgen Klopp on win at Southampton: 'These boys showed again they are exceptional'

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on win at Southampton: 'These boys showed again they are exceptional'

Published 17th May 2022
By James Carroll and Joe Urquhart at St Mary's

Jürgen Klopp was left proud of Liverpool’s battling capabilities after their 2-1 victory over Southampton on Tuesday night.

Southampton 1-2 Liverpool: Extended highlights

The Reds made nine changes for the trip to St Mary’s Stadium in midweek following Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup triumph against Chelsea at Wembley.

Klopp’s men fell behind to an early Nathan Redmond deflected effort before goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip secured a vital win in the race for the Premier League title.

Liverpool now enter Sunday’s final game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield one point behind Manchester City at the top of the table, who face Aston Villa at home.

Read on to see what the boss had to say in his post-match press conference...

On putting together a huge effort at Southampton to take it to the final day...

I think [it was] an incredible performance as well, making nine changes. If it wouldn’t have worked out it would have been one thousand per cent my responsibility. Now, it worked out and it’s one thousand per cent the boys’ responsibility because I can ask for a lot, [but] the boys have to do it. I thought they did exceptionally well. I saw incredible performances tonight. I saw a group reacting to a blow; I didn’t see it back, the [Jota] situation, [but] at least I thought it was a clear foul. In these situations you can lose nerves, or whatever, a little bit. The boys on the pitch not at all. They just kept going.

We scored a disallowed goal, we scored a goal - Taki’s goal - [we] controlled the game [and] you know much better than me how Southampton want to play. They want to go for us, and press and stuff like this. We played in all the spaces they couldn’t get us. So, that calmed the atmosphere down, obviously, and it became more a normal game and not the game Southampton wanted. That was good second half [and we] scored the second goal. Great. And then the last 10 minutes, this group didn’t play now 500 times together and you could see that with the changes and all this stuff. We have to work on how we can play time down without getting in trouble. Ali was there and [a] really deserved three points. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

Actually, I’m so happy about the performance, it was a bit touching. Honestly, wow. These boys. [It’s] like having Ferraris in the garage and you let them out and they directly do it like this. Harvey, I’m not sure when he played last time. Curtis, no rhythm, played from time to time. Takumi Minamino, it’s a crime he’s not playing more often, these kind of things really. Oxlade didn’t even play and is in outstanding shape, so all these kinds of things. It’s really tough for the boys, sometimes, but whatever happens this year happens because of this group. It’s exceptional, and tonight they showed that again.

On how he sees this weekend’s final fixtures...

The only way I can see it is like if I would be in the other situation then I don’t feel like I am champion already. So, that’s how it is. Of course, from my point of view now again second if City wins that game, but it’s football. We have to first win our game, it’s not like we talk about Wolves as if they would not be there. That’s difficult enough. Imagine that. We go there and have one ear in Manchester, it’s not too far away, and then Wolves... Jimenez, bam. Hwang, whatever, heading the balls in. So, we will be 100 per cent focused but last time it was that close, City won it because, let me say, 11 inches. Ball in, not in, stuff like this. So many things happen during this second part of the season. I think if we would become champions it would be deserved as well but for that we have to win and then we have to see.

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On the incredible depth in his squad...

It’s a crime. I apologise to everybody. I’ve said it a couple of times, you asked me for line-up problems; no. Not at all. Line-up is fine. I love it. So, you have options. You do this, try this. Today we could’ve lined differently up, but we really liked it, like the football we could play was really good. It’s hard, really hard. That’s why I expect them to react like they react but it’s not normal. It’s special. Like I said, whatever happened this year happened because the group is a pretty special group.

On whether he expects another twist on Sunday in the title race...

I’ve no idea what happens on Sunday, to be honest. It was game 18 tonight, right, from the second part of the season? We won 15, drew three. Against City we know we were lucky at City, that was not the best, not a good game. Against Tottenham and Chelsea, these two away games, when we had our corona outbreak, when we played... I love Tyler Morton. I love him. But he played on six at Tottenham. In that moment we were in a good shape, and then we get these little problems. I don’t see other teams don’t have problems, just our problems. So, we could have... this game was the situation when Robbo got the red card and Harry Kane didn’t get the red card. Just to think back.

Of course, these things happen in the whole season, but for our story we didn’t think about it for a second. It’s now just drawing three times, winning 15 is madness. Absolute madness. But it’s the only way to keep the distance like this to City. There are no regrets at all, the boys throw everything on the pitch. Again, nine changes and then this kind of game, it’s really exceptional, it’s really exceptional. I don’t think anybody expected something like that, and the boys did it anyway, that’s really great.

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On whether he plans to speak to Steven Gerrard ahead of Villa’s game with Manchester City on Sunday…

No, of course not. Stevie prepares now for Burnley. Burnley are fighting for everything, so that already will be hard enough. It is their last home game for Villa, so they will play that game, collect the bones and then go again on Sunday. So, no, there is no reason to talk to him. We all know Villa wants to win because Villa wants to win. That’s it.

On the decision of Blackpool striker Jake Daniels to come out as the UK’s only openly gay active male professional footballer this week…

Fantastic that he is brave enough to do that, at 17 years [old] it is absolutely exceptional. When I saw him talking I couldn’t believe he is 17 years old, he is obviously a very mature boy. The whole football community will support him, whatever we can do, I am 100 per cent sure. When he was talking about it, I loved it - how he really delivered his message. He wanted to - and he is right what he said - he didn’t want to hide anymore. Good, exactly the right way to do it. I don’t know him but I am really proud of him. It was an important step; we live in 2022 and that we have to make such a big thing of it is crazy, but we’re getting there, it’s a good start. Now I hope others will follow and can do it as well. That would be absolutely outstanding. I’m really happy for him, it was like he said what he said and it was like, ‘Oh my God, he is really now exactly where he wants to be.’ Absolutely top-class.

Published 17th May 2022