Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was a satisfied man despite the penalty defeat to Atletico Madrid and the “perverse situation” he found himself in.
Playing just 24 hours after the 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, Liverpool made nine changes as they lined-up last night in the Allianz Arena against a disciplined Atletico Madrid.
Trailing for much of the game Divock Origi’s theatrical fall earned Roberto Firmino the chance to score from the spot to make it 1-1, but the Reds went on to lose 5-4 on penalties in the Audi Cup final.
Liverpool struggled for fluency and that was understandable with only Sadio Mane and Emre Can retained from the demolition of Bayern Munich the night before, but Klopp was happy.
“If you get to a penalty shootout you want to win it but that wasn’t an important situation,” Klopp said.
“The boys played very well. They were very good with their preparation. They couldn’t have had a more difficult job against a team like Atletico Madrid who just get results and results.
“We had a lot of subs and were a bit tired after all the training. It wasn’t easy. In the first half we had a few nice moments and a few nice crosses – it was really tight.
“When we conceded we didn’t quite see what happened, but we didn’t react straight away and the formation wasn’t 100%. One lost challenge with the header shouldn’t mean that you go behind.
“In the second half we played much better but the situation continued to be very difficult.
“We needed that penalty. We got to the shootout, we lost it but I’m not down and out about it.”
Klopp accepted his side’s workload had been heavy, but claimed he was happy where his squad were with a week and a half to go before the Premier League season starts.
“We have trained really hard and the boys have been great about that,” added Klopp.
“They have done everything I expected from them. It’s been a very intensive programme so I am very happy with that.
“We need to get the freshness which we didn’t have today. We were very tired. We still have one and a half weeks before the first game. This is how we imagined it would go. I am satisfied with this.
“We want to be as good as possible this season. We want to be better than last season which won’t be easy. We don’t set any limits.
“We want to make life as difficult as possible for our opponents. We had 20 chances so you have to do something out of that but Atletico are a very strong team. This was a real experience for our players.
“It’s a perverse situation when you bring players into a game they shouldn’t be playing but a lot of things worked really well.
“I am really happy we still have one and a half weeks and we don’t have to play again tomorrow.”