Liverpool manager slams his players after conceding late equaliser against Newcastle in the Premier League
When Mohamed Salah opened the scoring with an early goal, Liverpool looked to be cruising to three points against Newcastle United. But Joe Willock made the home side pay for their missed opportunities with a dramatic late equaliser. The late goal was a big blow to Liverpool’s Champions League ambitions. They had a chance to enter the Top-4 places on Saturday, but a draw was not good enough as the Merseyside club is currently in sixth – four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League table.
Understandably, their manager Jurgen Klopp was furious with the late goal and questioned whether Liverpool even deserve to be in the Champions League. “How we always said, if you deserve it, you deserve it,” Klopp told BT Sport after the game. “I didn’t see [from] us that we deserved today to play Champions League next year.”
With still five matches to go, the Reds have a difficult task in hand to qualify for Europe’s premier competition next season. “We have another five games, we will see what we can do, we have a few days until we play Man United so it will be a tough one as well. But we learn, or we don’t play Champions League. That’s it,” he added.
What frustrated Klopp was the fact that Liverpool had opportunities to put the game to bed with a second goal. But a combination of average finishing and fine saves from Martin Dubravka kept the score at 1-0 right till the end, allowing Newcastle to equalise in virtually the last kick of the match.
“You just have to keep the ball. In a specific way, we don’t fight enough,” he added. “When we make a mistake we fight and try to get it back and stuff like this, but keeping it ourselves in a position where you dominate the game – which was possible today, we had 70 percent of the ball and we should have had 80 percent.”
“There were still moments when Newcastle weren’t bothered about that and they had a counter-attack, in these moments then you have a goalie and you have to defend it – all fine. We created a lot of chances, didn’t score with them, so we have to create more. That’s how it is.”
Liverpool had 22 shots on goal at Anfield, compared to Newcastle’s seven. Klopp’s boys also had nine shots on target along with a massive 69% possession. “In our situation, we scored with the first pretty much, but then not with the second, not with the third, it always has this kind of impact,” he added.
“You see that, ‘oh my god’, it drops here a little bit, there a little bit, instead of going and just [saying] ‘who cares!’. A missed chance is just information, nothing else.”
“But we don’t do that well in the moment, I have to say, and that’s why I say in the end it’s deserved. You look at the stats and think ‘how can that happen?’, but it happened, we saw it and they fought for it, they got it and we got nothing, pretty much. It’s a point, but it feels like a defeat.”