Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side do not “deserve” Champions League football next season based on their draw against Newcastle at Anfield.
Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock snatched a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield with a goal in injury time. An extra minute was added for a VAR decision which had ruled out a Callum Wilson goal in stoppage time and on-loan Arsenal man Willock took full advantage.
The unconvincing performance did little for Reds boss Klopp’s hopes of restoring the club’s battered reputation in the wake of the Super League controversy and even less for their top-four aspirations.
Mohamed Salah’s goal from their first shot on target was a class apart as he succeeded where Robbie Fowler and Luis Suarez came up short by scoring 20 Premier League goals in a season for a third time.
But Willock’s deflected late strike earned Newcastle a point, just after they had seen hopes dashed by VAR. And afterwards Klopp admitted it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Klopp told BT Sport: “We scored a wonderful goal, didn’t finish the game off. We didn’t play enough.
“A counter attack can happen but we had to just keep going, keep the ball and make them run. We kept them alive and they deserved the goal. They scored the one before, unlucky for Wilson but it is handball. We don’t even take this present. Really tough to take.
“Why it happened? I don’t know. We had to keep the ball. In a specific way we don’t fight enough. Keep ourselves in a position where we dominant the game.
“We had 70% of the ball, we should have 80%. We created a lot of chances, didn’t score with them, so we have to create more. That is how it is. We don’t do that well at the moment.
“They fought for it and we got nothing pretty much, but a point. It feels like a defeat.
“If you deserve, you deserve it. I didn’t see us deserve it today playing Champions League next year.”
The Reds boss then told BBC Sport his side were too wasteful.
“We created some sensational chances, played some really good stuff, should have scored with these moments against a deep defending side, eight or nine in and around the box,” Klopp said.
“We could have closed the game early but we didn’t, we kept them in the game, we kept them alive, that’s our problem, it’s our fault.
“If you are that wasteful with your chances, how are you going to win a football game?
“Then we were lucky their first goal didn’t count, it’s like the first present I can remember from VAR and it wasn’t enough so Newcastle deserve the point and we deserve, for sure, not more than a point.”
Bruce's reaction 🥳
Klopp's reaction 😦
Willock's reaction 😤
Salah's reaction 😔
This just sums up a crazy game of football. pic.twitter.com/HTOqMmVgFa
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2021
Thiago: We have to deserve to be in CL
Liverpool midfielder Thiago, speaking to BT Sport, said: “We have no words to explain the disappointment we have.
“The will to win, the desire to win is a very big part of the competition. We had a lot of chances to win in the first half.
“We tried to play our game. That was the key today. It worked very good in the first half, we created many spaces and created a lot of chances.
“It doesn’t change that we want to win and want to be in the Champions League but for that we have to deserve to be there.”