‘It’s absolutely great’ – Jürgen Klopp reacts to Reds reaching UCL semi-finals
Jürgen Klopp declared himself ‘really, really happy’ after his Liverpool side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The Reds set up a last-four meeting with Villarreal by clinching a 6-4 aggregate victory in their quarter-final tie against Benfica.
Wednesday’s second-leg duel at Anfield finished 3-3 as Ibrahima Konate and Roberto Firmino (two) were on the scoresheet for the hosts.
Konate opened the scoring with a powerful header from a corner after 21 minutes, though Goncalo Ramos equalised for the Lisbon outfit shortly after.
Firmino then netted twice in the second half to give Klopp’s men a 3-1 lead, but finishes from Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Nunez made it even on the night.
Read on for a full transcript of Klopp’s post-match press conference…
We will face @VillarrealCF in the #UCL semi-finals! https://t.co/zQICF18TK8
— LFC (Liverpool FC)
13th Apr 20:57
On how it feels to reach his third Champions League semi-final with Liverpool…
It’s great, absolutely great. It never happened that I take something like this for granted. I’m really, really happy. That’s it pretty much. I said it now a couple of times, I know we will talk about the game and the things that happened, the goals we conceded and all of these kind of things, but on a day when I’m not over the moon about qualifying for the Champions League semi-finals then something is really wrong – maybe it would be the right time just to quit. So, it’s all good.
On how he feels about facing Villarreal in the last four…
Tough, tough, tough, tough. Both games [against Bayern Munich], they deserved to get through. I didn’t analyse them because you watch the game and you try to figure out both teams with real quality. And Villarreal has probably the most successful cup-competition manager in world football, so he knows what he is doing. And the team is really strong. Two different approaches away and home – it’s clear that they defended at Munich even more than they did at Villarreal. It will be difficult. But it’s the semi-finals of the Champions League – if it wouldn’t be difficult then something would be really wrong.
On Benfica’s fightback…
Great. Very strong, really good, but, of course – and I think you see it as well – it was about us in this moment, as well. It was difficult. I made seven changes, that’s one thing – the last line never played together like this. I decided that yesterday, so you have one, 15-20 minutes to try to put it right, and the majority of the time they did really well. I liked it, I liked it a lot. I liked the way we played football, the only problem was when we lost the ball our protection was obviously not perfect. And the thing with defending in a Champions League quarter-final is it is about details.
I didn’t see the offside situations back, but it is part of defending to put the opponent offside. Tonight that didn’t work out too well, we have to admit, but that’s my fault because I changed seven times. The next problem that we had is we are 3-1 up, on aggregate 6-2, it’s an incredibly busy period and some of the boys didn’t play 90 minutes for a while, so that’s then the next step. They are human beings, we are like this, you think, ‘OK… job done’ – and Benfica was still on fire and I respect that a lot. They scored really good goals; it is not that easy against us, it should not be that easy as it was tonight, but Benfica deserved the three goals. That’s how it is and, of course, we could have scored more, that’s clear in other situations, but I’m really happy about it. I know about challenges in football games which you face constantly – and tonight it was after 3-1, everyone thought – me included – that’s it, and Benfica, ‘Let’s give it a try.’ I couldn’t respect that more.
On whether there were any new injuries…
We missed [Van Dijk]; we played the last line completely new and we missed the boys of the last line, if you want. [Van Dijk] is not injured. Diogo got a knock in the first half, that’s what I know. About Mo’s knock, I don’t know really, nobody told me yet. I changed with two physios and nobody said to me Mo has a problem, so for the moment everybody should be fine.