Paris, May 29 (IANS) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp rued the fact that while his side had “a lot more shots on target”, the most decisive stat — the 1-0 victory margin — was in Real Madrid’s favour in the UEFA Champions League final on Sunday morning (IST).
Vinicius Jr’s goal just before the hour mark settled the showpiece at Stade de France, with Real taking the prestigious title for a record-extending 14th time, much indebted to the decisive goalkeeping performance of Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois made several superb saves throughout, including one that saw him tip a Sadio Mane drive onto the inside of the post in the first half.
“After the game when I saw the stats, it was 50-50 possession. We had a lot more shots, a lot more shots on target, but the most decisive stat is absolutely on Madrid’s side,” said Klopp to liverpoolfc.com.
The loss in Paris means the English club ended their season, having won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup and finishing runners-up in the Premier League (Manchester City won the title), and Champions League.
“Just to make sure that nobody thinks I wouldn’t congratulate Real Madrid, I do that now. They scored a goal, we didn’t, that’s the easiest explanation in the world of football and it’s hard, harsh to get anyway, (but we) respect that of course. When the goalkeeper (Thibaut Courtois) is Man of the Match then something is going wrong for the other team, so we had I think three really big chances where Courtois made incredible saves. I would have loved to have had a few more of this calibre,” opined Klopp.
“In the last third we could have done better, a pass here, the crosses, especially towards the end of the game, towards Courtois made not too much sense. We had the best phase probably after they scored the 1-0, then we played immediately exactly in the spaces we had to play. The problem is when you play against Real Madrid and they defend that deep, the counter-attacking threat they are is immense. You cannot ignore that,” said Klopp, analysing the game.
On whether this being Liverpool’s 63rd game of the season had an influence on their performance, the German categorically said that wasn’t the reason.
“Let me say, that doesn’t help, but I don’t think it was the reason. We all know the chances we had, when the player shoots a ball, the ball going in or not is on the foot actually only an inch, that’s all. Nothing to do with being at the peak of your physical things or not. I think Madrid had one shot on target, is that right? And that was a goal,” added Klopp.