SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

“Deserved” loss, Konate & “who cares?” – 5 key things from Klopp’s press conference

Jurgen Klopp was understandably philosophical as his rotated side signed off their Europa League group campaign with a 2-1 defeat against Union SG.

Here are the five key points from the manager as he reflected on his side’s final game in Group E.

“Deserved” win for the hosts

The manager conceded that his side were second best in their final group game at Lotto Park, admitting that Union SG “deserved” the victory.

He added: “It was, for some, a really important experience and for others good for rhythm.

“I thought we gave it a go and that’s okay for me, nobody got injured.”

Konate start explained

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Eyebrows were raised at Ibrahima Konate‘s inclusion in the starting XI, particularly given that Joel Matip has already been ruled out for the season.

Klopp said of the decision to switch Konate and Joe Gomez around at the interval: “We just wanted to share intensity, do I want to play Joe Gomez 90 or Ibou 90 if we had the chance?

“These changes were planned before the game.”

Praise for Bradley

It was a tough night for Liverpool’s two full-backs, but Klopp reserved praise for Conor Bradley having come back into the side after a long lay-off due to back injury.

The manager described him as a “top top player” and called his attitude “outstanding” after the youngster made his first senior start in almost two years.

Quansah off the mark

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah (L) celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp was “really happy” to see Jarell Quansah get his first goal for the club, adding that he dealt “really well” with the “big spaces” left when Union SG were on the break.

He added that he was particularly pleased by the fact his players “really gave it a proper go” in the trying circumstances, with the Reds having searched for a late equaliser despite it truthfully meaning very little.

“Who cares?”

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the end, the boss was as concerned as he needed to be after his side lost an ultimately inconsequential tie having already wrapped up top spot in the group.

Klopp briefly questioned the lack of an offside call in the build-up to Union SG’s opener, before simply dismissing the incident by saying: “Who cares?”

That is the sensible attitude to take after any dead rubber!