Jürgen Klopp’s verdict on Champions League final defeat
Jürgen Klopp felt Liverpool would have been deserving of more from the Champions League final after they fell to a 1-0 defeat by Real Madrid in Paris.
Vinicius Jr’s goal just before the hour mark settled Saturday’s showpiece at Stade de France, with Real indebted to a decisive goalkeeping performance by Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois made several superb saves throughout the evening, including one that saw him tip a Sadio Mane drive onto the inside of the post in the first half.
Defeat in Paris means Liverpool end the campaign having won the Emirates FA Cup and Carabao Cup and finished as runners-up in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Read a transcript of Klopp’s post-match press conference below…
On the result and Liverpool’s performance…
After the game when I saw the stats it was 50-50 possession. We had a lot more shots, a lot more shots on target, but the most decisive stat is absolutely on Madrid’s side. Just to make sure that nobody thinks I wouldn’t congratulate Real Madrid, I do that now but I [also] congratulated everybody present and involved outside personally. They scored a goal, we didn’t, that’s the easiest explanation in the world of football and it’s hard, harsh to get anyway, [but we] respect that of course. When the goalkeeper is Man of the Match then something is going wrong for the other team, so we had I think three really big chances where Courtois made incredible saves. I would have loved to have had a few more of this calibre.
In the last third we could have done better, a pass here, the crosses, especially towards the end of the game, towards Courtois made not too much sense. We had the best phase probably after they scored the 1-0, then we played immediately exactly in the spaces we had to play. In the first half there were good moments, when we found Sadio, next left to right from Casemiro, their centre-halves stayed deep, Sad could turn, arrived in the box. That was good. We wanted to play a bit more in their formation in the second half then around their formation. The problem is when you play against Real Madrid and they defend that deep, the counter-attacking threat they are is immense. You cannot ignore that. I saw us doing really a lot of good things, to be honest, but it was not enough and we take that.
On what he knew about the situation outside the stadium that led to the game being delayed…
Not a lot and I couldn’t speak to my family yet, but I know the families had real struggles to get into the stadium. But the reasons, I don’t know yet. What I heard is that we will have further investigations to figure out what was going on there. I heard a few things that were not good, not nice. Obviously it was pretty tricky out there but I don’t know more about it.
On whether this being Liverpool’s 63rd game had an influence on their performance…
Let me say, that doesn’t help, but I don’t think it was the reason. We all know, the chances we had, when the player shoots a ball, the ball going in or not is on the foot actually only an inch, that’s all. Nothing to do with being at the peak of your physical things or not. We had these situations, the chance in the one-on-one situation from close range from Mo, we know how often Mo scored in these situations. It was just an outstanding save from Courtois, we have to respect that as well.
I think Madrid had one shot on target, is that right? And that was a goal. But, look, I understand 100 per cent and I respect 100 per cent the reason for playing football and having these kinds of competitions is to win the game, and whatever you do – as long as it’s in the rules – it’s allowed and you can do it. It’s completely fine. We had to defend as well in moments, just that we blocked the shots or whatever. We played a good game, but when you lose 1-0 you have to admit it was then not good enough. I told the boys in the dressing room after we had a bit of time obviously watching the celebrations of Real Madrid, I told the boys I feel the pride already. But I saw as well I was the only one in the dressing room at that moment. The boys need a little bit longer for that, I understand that.
These boys played an outstanding season. The two competitions we couldn’t win, we didn’t win for the smallest possible margin – one point, 1-0. What does that say? [Manchester] City during the season were one point better and tonight Madrid were one goal better. That says nothing about us. The difference between 2018 and now is that I see us coming again. In 2018 I wished it but I couldn’t know. But these boys are really competitive, they have an incredible attitude, it’s a fantastic group and we will go again definitely.
And tomorrow, we will celebrate the season. It’s good that we don’t have to do that now immediately. But after a night’s sleep and maybe another talk or speech from me, the boys will realise how special it was what they did. Even if nobody on this planet would understand that we have a parade tomorrow, we still will do it and I really hope that everybody who has the chance to get to Liverpool is there tomorrow and celebrates together with us a fantastic season which we all had together. It didn’t end like we wanted but yeah, that’s facts. But, how I said, the club is in a good moment, we will go again.
On what was the key between winning and losing…
They scored and we didn’t. That is now easy to say. We could have played better football but Madrid could have played better football but they didn’t and they won anyway. Madrid played already a lot of games better, we can now say they played exactly like they have to, fine, that’s how you play a final. If we didn’t want the ball then we would have both played in our halves and that is not possible. Again, the stats is 50-50 possession so it was not that they never had the ball, absolutely, but apart from the goal they didn’t have a shot on target – that is a good sign for my team. We had nine shots on target, that is really a good number, but the problem is they scored with one shot and we didn’t score with nine. That’s the difference between losing and winning.
On his further thoughts on the game…
It’s not important if any other team could have won tonight because Madrid qualified for the final and we qualified for the final and we couldn’t win – that’s the only thing that counts. This team of Real Madrid is incredibly experienced, they have the most experienced manager in European football, now the most successful as well. In a football game, in a close football game and even when we had a lot more shots than Madrid, it is about scoring, easy. Then the other problem is, with 24 shots how you say, I remember three situations where Thibaut Courtois made a proper save, a world-class save, and with our quality we can cause them more problems. Madrid deserve the Champions League trophy, that’s how it is, when if you lose you have to think you could have done better. That’s normal. We think we could have done better. Is it possible at game number 63 to play your absolute best football? I don’t know, but I saw a lot of good things. My team was full of desire, full of passion, we tried really hard and you don’t get the reward. That’s part of the game, it will never change. What’s the reason for that? I don’t believe these kind of things that Madrid is unbeatable in finals, they will lose a final someday but it didn’t happen tonight so I think Real Madrid could not care less when that will happen and for us it’s not too interesting as well.