Jurgen Klopp insists he had to “pull himself together” for the FA Cup victory over Norwich after an outpouring of emotion from friends and fans after he announced he would leave the club at the end of the season.
It came amid a celebration of Klopp at Anfield, who sat in contemplative mood as the Kop belted out ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before kick-off and followed it up with a first-minute rendition of ‘I’m so glad that Jurgen is a Red’.
“It’s emotional but I have to pull myself together. I received all the messages. I’m not made of wood,” said Klopp.
“It was a top performance from everybody involved, really good.
“We could have passed a little but with more purpose, direction and being quicker in the way we scored two goals but conceded a set-piece goal.
“But it is clear when you are as dominant as we are, if we improve in some departments we create more chances.”
Curtis Jones and Darwin Nunez scored either side of Ben Gibson’s headed equaliser but in the second half it was virtual one-way traffic and further goals came from Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Gravenberch, with Borja Sainz’s screamer briefly making it 4-2.
However, other major plus points were the returns from injury off the bench from Andy Robertson – out since October with a dislocated shoulder – fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai.
“It was very important that we could give them minutes. Trent and Dom were not that long out but Robbo was out for a long time and each minute they could get is really important and here it helped to share intensity,” added Klopp.
“We played pretty good without them, so it is about how we are playing.
Norwich boss David Wagner, Klopp’s long-time friend, admitted his side were up against it.
“A deserved win for Liverpool, the better side won. My team put a shift in and tried to play out from the back. We scored two wonderful goals and were competitive,” he said.
“I said before, ‘let’s attack this competition with freedom’.
“We were able to get some players closer to the squad and it was a step for us. Now we have to make sure we recover in the Championship.”