Juergen Klopp sarcastically told off a reporter at his post-match press conference after Liverpool’s 5-2 Champions League first-leg defeat at Anfield to current champions Real Madrid, while claiming the first half was the best his team has played all season.
The Reds had made a great start to the game scoring two within the first 14 minutes, though Vinicius Junior scored two to equalize at halftime. Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid then absolutely dominated the second half, with a goal from Eder Militao and a brace from Karim Benzema sealing the 5-2 win for them. It was Liverpool’s worst defeat ever at home in the Champions League.
In the post-game press conference, a weary Klopp was asked some questions by a Spanish journalist about two Real Madrid stars. When asked whether Vinicius Junior is one of the best players in the world right now, he simply uttered ‘yep’. He was then asked whether Luka Modric’s performance at Anfield deserves him a new contract at Madrid. This clearly annoyed him and he answered,
‘Oh god, you obviously are not too much interested in my problems, so this is not one of my problems. Yeah, a fantastic player and I’m pretty sure Carlo [Ancelotti] and Real Madrid will do the right thing for the right player.”
Before another journalist went to ask him a question, Klopp sarcastically interjected, “Please ask me more questions about Real Madrid players.”
Despite the heavy loss, Klopp admired the performance of his team in the first half even saying it was their best display this season, “Everything was pretty obvious tonight I think. We gave all five goals away. All five. That means we could have done better there, but they were all obviously different.
At the start of the game, in our situation where we are, it’s really important that we see positive steps and I think the first half was pretty much – besides the two goals we conceded – the best we’ve played probably in the whole season. So I liked that a lot.”
He did criticize the defending of his team saying they could have done better, “The two goals [in the first half] we have to defend a lot better… the second goal we cannot defend better, that’s slapstick, but it equalized pretty much the second goal that we scored.
The first goal we concede we have to defend better, there are enough players around, no one puts a foot in, stuff like this, it’s very tight and it’s just a world-class moment from Vinicius as well but I think it’s obvious that we can defend that better.
He then explained where he thought the game was lost,
“Half-time was rather positive, to be honest. And then we started by conceding the third goal, which is a horrible goal and today it was pretty much the game-changer. That doesn’t mean it was OK that it was a game-changer, but it was today.
We lost the momentum at that moment and never really got it back. In the first half, we could have scored a third goal, we had our moments, but we were unlucky with a scrappy situation in the six-yard box.
And the second half of the game was the game Real Madrid wanted to play. In both the other goals, they scored, one is deflected and they weren’t really well-defended, to be honest. We lost the ball in the wrong moment, which is obviously a massive problem against Real Madrid with the counter-attacking threat they have and that’s how it gave the result and that’s it.”
Liverpool will now face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu for the Round of 16-second leg on 16th March. They will have to overcome the three-goal deficit to save their Champions League season.