Jurgen Klopp took responsibility for a chaotic Liverpool defensive performance as they beat Benfica but insisted he could not be anything other than delighted with progress to a Champions League semi-final.
With an FA Cup last-four showdown against Manchester City on the horizon, the German made seven changes to a team looking to defending a 3-1 aggregate lead in Europe’s premier cup competition.
A topsy-turvy game ensued, with the hosts coming through as 6-4 victors on aggregate following a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Klopp later blamed his changes for on occasionally ragged showing at the back, saying: “I made seven changes, the last line never played together like this, I decided that yesterday.
“So we had 15-20 minutes to try and put it right. The majority of times they did really well, I liked the way we played football, the only problem was when we lost the ball our protection was obviously not perfect.
“If you defend in a Champions League quarter-final it’s about details. I didn’t see the offside situations back, but it’s part of defending to put the opponent offside.
“Tonight that didn’t work out too well we have to admit, but that is my fault because I changed seven times.
“Benfica was still on fire and I respect that a lot. They scored really good goals, but it should not be as easy as it was tonight.”
Really, really happy
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 13, 2022
Klopp was more keen to focus on the positives overall, however, including a third Champions League semi-final appearance in five seasons.
He added: “It is great, absolutely great. We never take something like this for granted. I am really, really happy.
“I know we will talk about the game and the things that happened, the goals we conceded, but the day I am not over the moon about getting to a Champions League semi-final then something is really wrong and maybe it would be the right time to quit.”
Next up for the Reds in this competition is a meeting with surprise package Villarreal, who stunned Bayern Munich to secure progress to the last four on Tuesday.
On the prospect of facing the Spaniards, Klopp said: “Tough, tough, tough. Both games they deserved to get through.
“I didn’t analyse them because you watch the game and you try to figure out both teams. But [they have] real quality and Villarreal has probably the most successful cup competition manager in world football, so he knows what he is doing.
“The team is really strong, two different approaches away and home, it’s clear that they defended in Munich even more than they did in Villarreal.
“It will be difficult, but it is semi-final of the Champions League, if it wouldn’t be difficult then something would be really wrong.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!