Press conferenceRangers 1-7 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp's reaction
Jürgen Klopp praised his team after Liverpool produced a high-class performance to defeat Rangers 7-1 at Ibrox in the Champions League.
The Reds responded to going behind to Scott Arfield’s early opener in emphatic style, with Roberto Firmino (two), Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah (three) and Harvey Elliott getting the goals to reinforce their bid for a place in the last 16.
Salah came off the bench to make a stunning impact by notching the fastest hat-trick in the competition’s history, with just six minutes and 12 seconds separating his first and third goals.
Klopp’s team now need one point from their last two Group A games to be certain of qualifying for the first knockout round after Napoli sealed their progress by beating Ajax 4-2 earlier on Wednesday.
Read a transcript of the manager’s post-match press conference at Ibrox below.
Highlights: Rangers 1-7 Liverpool
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On the game…
Actually I had a really positive half-time talk… concede the goal, we scored the equaliser and we had really good football moments. We wanted more of them in the second half so we showed the boys a bit the spaces we could play in if we keep moving, especially if we can keep them moving, in the approach they had it will be really intense. In the end, we needed to get clearer in the final third. Obviously it worked out, it was great – all the goals were absolutely great, how we set them up and how we finished them off, so that was the decisive part. A football game is 95 minutes usually, so if you can build on parts of the first half you have to do that and that’s what we tried.
On a good night for the forward line and Salah’s record-breaking hat-trick…
Special. Typical Mo. Very important, the whole thing. How the boys adapted to it, to the positions, to the line-up, the reaction of the boys on the pitch. I thought everybody who started tonight played really well. I cannot think of one player who didn’t have a good game; the two kids of the right and left wing, really good, Fabio and Harvey. And then when you can change like we changed tonight, if you can do that, the boys come on and are ready to contribute and things like this can happen. It’s a freak result and we all know that and we don’t make more of it than we should, but obviously it is the best we could have asked for and that is why I am pretty pleased.
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On a nice moment for Elliott, who could finally celebrate his first Champions League goal after a lengthy VAR review…
A very nice moment. I thought he was going to run into the crowd, that would have been not too cool, but yes. If you know him a bit closer you would even more understand how much it means to him. But he played an exceptional game and deserved this goal, really.
On whether he was surprised Liverpool did not face more resistance from Rangers in the second half…
No, I actually really think the first half prepared the second half because it was really intense to defend us and that’s difficult. When we are on it, or at it, then we can be a really good football team. Unfortunately we were not all the time this year but tonight we really built on the good things from the first half and that is why the second half is the result of the first half, because we really kept them moving and it was difficult. Obviously they had to change the centre-half, which is not helpful, then a little bit later the midfielder, that shows how intense the game was. When the centre-half got injured it was a situation [where] if he doesn’t make the tackle then Darwin is through in that moment. So it is good defending but he has to put everything in. That was pretty much the first half.
There were a lot of moments where they had to defend us like this and that’s why we had to keep going and the boys did that. But in the end you need to bring the ball over the line and that’s obviously the most difficult thing in football. And the goals we scored were really, really exceptional: the cross from Joey, for Darwin’s goal the set-up from Bobby was pretty special, then Mo comes on and is on fire and interprets the position really well and is in the right areas, then Harvey it’s one where Diogo could have probably scored already. So yes, it’s a night when things worked out for us but we understand that in the right way.
On whether the result and performance ‘changes the mood’ going into the weekend clash with Manchester City...
It changed the mood, definitely. It is completely different. We usually drink a beer after away games, but it is that long ago that I drank beer and I probably will be drunk after one! Yes, it changes the mood completely and that’s good, but we all know who we are welcoming [to Anfield] on Sunday and this will be a different game, we know that. It is better to go into a game with the feeling we’ve got tonight than any other.
On the players’ reactions to their goals...
You could see the reaction. I couldn’t see Mo celebrating because he was always running in the corner [to our supporters], but I could see it with Darwin, it meant the world to him. The relief was big and obviously all the efforts are paying off. Yes, of course we all know when Mo, when it is running for him, he is exceptional, absolutely exceptional. Obviously a different position tonight coming on, it was just good. Of course, I hope for him that everything works well from now on, like I hope for us. We will have to work on it and that’s what we will do.
On making changes in the second half...
We will see. We will see. I am always ready for a change in the right direction. We don’t have to make a big thing of it, but the best football team in the world right now is coming to Anfield on Sunday. We will see what we can do, but it’s not now that we are with a big mouth and telling them come and we are waiting. Not at all. It was for us tonight, for different reasons, incredibly important. Yes, 7-1 is a freak result, we know that. We had that before years ago, I am not sure where but we won with a big result in the Champions League and now we have to recover, that’s really important.
The changes tonight were a lot of good because we could do it, but Diogo Jota didn’t start because I got a call this morning that [said] he feels a little bit his muscle; he could play but he should not play for too long, so it was my decision to decide do I start him for 30 minutes or do we bring him [on] for 20? So that was obviously the right thing to do. Hendo played a lot, Darwin now played a lot after not playing that much and you have all of these kind of things in your mind when you do the changes. Actually, the first 11 was really good but the changes made gave us the next step with us and that was very, very pleasing. It was good, but that’s it and now we recover and prepare for the next game.
On dealing with the atmosphere at Ibrox...
The difference is massive; it’s like this in all football stadiums. Last night somebody told me it is always the same here. It was top when Arfield scored and after that each challenge celebrated. In these moments it is very important you calm the atmosphere down, but it is only possible with football – no other chance. You cannot do it with half-challenges, then you keep them on their toes. You have to play football to calm it down. The boys did that and that’s the part I am most pleased with.
Of course I am happy that we scored goals, but we didn’t come here thinking we wanted to score seven goals – not at all. If we win this game tonight 2-1 I am over the moon as well, so it is all fine. The way it went then, this can happen and it was then really difficult for Rangers to defend us in these moments. I know you will probably write tomorrow about a breakdown or whatever; I don’t think so, we were then really just on it and meeting us in the wrong moment is not cool. Meeting us in the wrong moment for us was now too often not too cool for us, so we have to change that and that’s what we are working on.