Jürgen Klopp met with the media following Liverpool's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid. The boss admitted he was not in a good mood after the match, something he rarely does, but he did take the time to compliment Real Madrid on their play, acknowledge the uphill battle Liverpool faced in the contest and criticize how VAR has been used in the tournament.
Not only did Klopp compliment Real Madrid for the way they played the game, but also for a post-match gesture by their supporters as they sang You Will Never Walk Alone as a sign of respect for Liverpool
“It is a really nice gesture,” Klopp said “We are two heavyweights who meet each other quite frequently in international football. I think it is clear we respect each other a lot and whoever did it, whoever was doing something like that, [made] a really nice gesture, I have to say. Absolutely. I was not angry after the game, but I was disappointed. I would be angry if we would have played better and it was close and then they win because of a penalty which was not a penalty or stuff like this. But in the end that all didn't happen. Real Madrid were just the better side and I am long enough in the business to respect that.”
Everyone knew that Liverpool had a tall order to erase a 3-goal deficit vs Real Madrid to advance. Klopp says the club played well in moments but the opponent was just better.
“We came here with the backpack (on our back),” he said. “We had with the three goals difference. You need a special performance and we didn't show a special performance tonight. It was, in moments, a good performance, but Real Madrid was, for the whole game, the team in control of the game. They had the better chances, Ali (Alisson) had to make two sensational saves to keep us in the game and that's the reason. Again, if you want to go through you need to be outstanding; if you want to win the game, you need to be really good. In the end, Madrid were the better team and that's why the right team went through to the next round.”
While a potential handball in the box by Kostas Tsimikas was ultimately not given a penalty kick deep in stoppage, Klopp was still more than a little salty that even checked for the infraction.
“I am now not in the perfect mood to discuss general football issues,”Klopp said. “But these two games now, if the whole world agrees it's not a penalty, and two guys think it is a penalty, then something is wrong. Tonight, I think that the VAR took the ref to the screen and asked him to watch it again, I don't know exactly what he is doing there because it's a clear deflection, it cannot deflect it from a closer range... so it's a clear deflection for the VAR, so keep on going. Everybody, again, with a football brain thought it was not a penalty. I arrived there and talking to Carlo and he said, 'It's not a penalty, it's deflected.' I know but he was still sent to the screen, so there is something not 100 percent right. In the end, it was not a penalty, it was not decisive, they gave the penalty last night [and] it was a bit more decisive... in the end it is not our problem tonight but in general I think it would be cool if VAR is there to make the right decisions not the wrong [ones].”
No one watching Jürgen Klopp's press conference had to guess how the boss was feeling after a 1-0 loss to Real Madrid. He told you. Klopp was disappointed. Not so much in the outcome. Honestly, Real Madrid advancing was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but the fact that Real Madrid controlled much of the match.
Klopp even went as far as to criticize VAR. It seems as if the boss might need the upcoming break as much as the players do to come back refreshed and ready for the rest of the season.
“We came here with the backpack (on our back). You need a special performance and we didn't show a special performance tonight. It was, in moments, a good performance, but Real Madrid was, for the whole game, the team in control of the game. “
“l I think it would be cool if VAR is there to make the right decisions not the wrong [ones].”