Klopp compares Liverpool expectations after admitting decision he didn’t want to make v Atletico

Date published: Wednesday 3rd November 2021 10:38 - Samuel Bannister

Jurgen Klopp speaking to Sadio Mane

Jurgen Klopp suggested his Liverpool players have surpassed his expectations in the Champions League so far after qualifying for the knockout stages – before reflecting on a decision he didn’t want to make.

Liverpool comfortably beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Anfield to ensure their progress as group winners with two games to spare. Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane scored the goals, which were both assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

A red card to Felipe did not help Atletico, who were well beaten by Klopp’s side despite bringing physicality to the game.

While there are two group games left, Liverpool can concentrate more on other competitions in the weeks ahead thanks to getting this job done.

Klopp is glad they have secured their objective so early, despite admitting he wasn’t expecting it from the start.

What’s more, he was satisfied that they did so with a “nearly perfect” performance in which they controlled key moments.

He told BT Sport: “In the second half of course, that’s how it is. We lost a player through injury with Roberto Firmino.

“People want to see more goals but we did create more chances. I think the game was nearly perfect.

“We scored the goals in the right moments. They were much more on the front-foot with how they started than the home game but we started well.

“They were fantastic finishes as well, especially Sadio Mane.

“With the red card, well, you don’t like that, you don’t want to play against 10 men but in the end it’s 2-0 and it was a great night.”

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Klopp didn’t like necessary decision

It was a busy evening for referee Danny Makkelie, who booked four Atletico players and three of Liverpool’s in addition to Felipe’s red card.

Mane was one of those to see yellow for Liverpool and the visitors began to target him, which forced Klopp to protect him by withdrawing him at half-time.

The manager did not like making that decision, but believed it was necessary.

Klopp continued: “The referee was [in control] but I really hate the moment when I had to take off Sadio Mane. You could see that every challenge in the air, you don’t know what could happen. I didn’t like it but in the end, you have to do it.

“You earn a lot of money to win Champions League games! The first target was to get through this group. But we did it with two games to go.

“What can we do? We will have to see. I didn’t expect we would be through after four games but the boys did it and it’s really well deserved.”

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