Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his players not to dwell on how they threw away a 2-0 lead against Newcastle.
Daniel Sturridge struck after just 58 seconds and Adam Lallana‘s goal on the half-hour had the Reds cruising in the first half only for the visitors to equalise through Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback with two of the Magpies’ three shots on target.
It was not the ideal preparation ahead of an important Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal – equally so the pre-match news that defender Mamadou Sakho had failed a drugs test from last month.
The France defender was not considered for selection – although the club was keen to stress he has not been suspended either by them or UEFA – and is likely to ask for his B sample to be tested before Tuesday’s deadline after his initial positive result for a substance used in ‘fat-burning’ supplements.
It was an unnecessary distraction to Klopp’s plans when he discovered the news on Friday but the German wants to move on from the disappointment of the result.
“We cannot think about the reason (for drawing) too much,” he said.
“We were dominant and played football. We did really well against an intensive opponent but you need a bit of luck in decisive moments.
“We had this penalty situation, I think it was a clear penalty (when Daniel Sturridge appeared to be fouled by Cheik Tiote).
“A 2-2 draw is not too good but we have to accept it.”
On the positive side Sturridge’s goal was his 11th of the season in just 21 matches this season – one behind leading scorer Philippe Coutinho who has featured 37 times – and his fourth in his last five appearances.
“He is in the best shape for a few months – I don’t know for how long but now [playing] 90 minutes is no real problem any more and that’s good,” Klopp said.
“You cannot see a difference between the first 60 and the last 30. For us, it’s very important.
“It was a wonderful goal very early in the game. It was not a real chance to be honest but he made the best of it. It was good.”