Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s thrilling 3-2 win at 10-man Atletico Madrid as “dirty”, but says those types of wins are the most important.
In a classic group-stage encounter, Liverpool were pegged back from 2-0 up by an Antoine Griezmann double, before the Frenchman was sent off and Mo Salah grabbed the winner from the spot.
There was drama late on though as German referee Daniel Siebert awarded 10-man Atletico a spot kick for a Diogo Jota foul on Jose Gimenez, but VAR intervened and after consulting the pitchside monitor, Siebert reversed his decision.
Atletico were unhappy with Siebert for the majority of the evening, in particular for Griezmann’s sending off, after unknowingly catching Roberto Firmino with a high foot.
Klopp was delighted to leave with three points, on a night he aptly described as “dirty”.
“It was a tough game, come on!” he told BT Sport. “Honestly, how you win it, I couldn’t care less! The dirty ones are the really important ones! On a night like this, getting three points is really massive.”
“Our penalty is a penalty. And I think the other one is not a penalty, but I don’t see it very often when they take it back [to the pitchside monitor]. I didn’t expect that, but I think it’s the right decision.
“The red card is for sure unlucky, but it’s still a red card. Boot in the face and stuff like this, we’ve had red cards like this in the past.”
The drama didn’t end on full time as Atletico boss Diego Simeone rushed down the tunnel without shaking Klopp’s hands, and though the Liverpool boss said his actions “weren’t right”, he could empathise with the Argentine.
Klopp also said he wasn’t happy with his own reaction after wagging his finger towards the direction of Simeone as he ran down the tunnel.
“The situation is clear, I wanted to shake his hand, he didn’t want it,” said Klopp.
“His reaction was for sure not right, mine [waving down the tunnel] was not too cool also, but we are both emotional, so when I see him next time we will shake hands definitely
“He was obviously angry, not with me, but with the game, it’s nothing else.”
Klopp later told a press conference: “I wanted to shake his hand, he was running off, so I could have just turned around, so I was as emotional as he was.
“I don’t think he did anything, and I’m not overly happy with my reaction to be honest, but that’s not too bad also.
He’s emotional, that should not be a surprise for anybody, I am as well.”
Klopp: I’m not the pope of football!
After saying before the game that he could not coach Simeone’s style of play, Klopp reiterated his point in the post-match press conference, but insisted he is not the “pope of football”.
“I don’t know exactly what the possession was tonight but even with 11 vs 11 I think Atletico let us play, if you saw the same game I did.
“That’s the way they play and I am not the pope of football! It’s not so important what I say, to be honest. Some things I like in life, some things I don’t like that much but I still can respect them.
“I respect a lot what they are doing here. I couldn’t do it, I’m not the same guy as Diego. How long is he here? 10 years? Incredibly successful, why should they play the football I like? They play the football they like and that’s all fine.”
Klopp: We’re not that confident
Despite going 21 games unbeaten in all competitions, their longest run since 1989, Klopp admits his side know their problems, and are not as confident as it might appear.
“We are not that confident, to be honest. We know our struggles, we know our problems but we try to ignore them very often.
“Tonight, two confident teams played against each other and I’m pretty sure if you would measure the confidence of Diego Simeone and me, I’m 100 per cent sure he would win and for the right reasons. Tonight was just a real fight – it was not about this team, this game.
“Nobody can win just because he is the better side, no chance. Both teams are real fighters and you saw that tonight. And in two weeks you will see it again. It’s not a game I’m looking forward to, you think, ‘OK, my God, in two weeks again.’
“They are a real difficult team to play but we will be there and then in our stadium having an outstanding atmosphere and hopefully we can use that.”
Alisson: Klopp a master at team talks
Alisson, who was Liverpool’s man of the match, praised Klopp for his half-time team talk with the score at 2-2 and Atletico in the ascendency.
“The boss is a master at saying the right things at the right time. He said the right things at half-time.
“We would have liked to create more chances against 10 men but it’s hard when a team parks the bus.”
Next up for Liverpool is a trip to Manchester United in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.