SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

“Who cares?” – Jurgen Klopp sums up Liverpool defeat with 1 big positive named

Jurgen Klopp took one welcome positive from the defeat at Union SG, and his attitude was summed up by declaring “who cares” when pondering if the opening goal was, in fact, offside.

Liverpool arrived in Belgium with key names left on Merseyside and with the youngest-ever starting lineup in a European fixture, this was a dead rubber after all.

The freedom to ring the changes and give youth a chance was earned by the Reds, and while the performance ended in defeat, Klopp was only in the mood to see the positives.

So much so that questions raised over the hosts being offside in the lead up to their opening goal raised a “who cares?” from the manager.

Klopp said: “It was a deserved win for Royal Union, even I heard now that the first goal might have been offside, but nobody can tell me properly…who cares?”

The body language in his delivery spoke volumes of the context the match was played under, we all would have been a little more aggrieved with that offside otherwise.

Klopp, of course, wanted to leave with at least a point but, in the end, the positive was leaving Belgium with no injuries – aided by pre-planned substitutions.

“For some, [it was] a really important experience and for others good for rhythm,” Klopp assessed.

“Saw good performances and as a team, it’s not a fair assessment to say top of the table and we come here and bring kids and blah blah blah, that’s really difficult.

“We gave it a big go and that’s okay for me, nobody got hurt, nobody is injured so we recover, go home, and go again.

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)

“We want to share intensity, do I want to play Joe Gomez or Ibou [for] 90 [minutes]?

“We had the chance to do 45-45, same in midfield, these changes were planned before the game, independent of the result.”

In the end, six Reds played the full 90. They were Coaimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah, Conor Bradley, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo.

It offers an early indication of who will likely not be starting against Man United on Sunday, with those left on Merseyside or with brief cameos off the bench to be preferred.