Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp defended the attitude of his team in a prickly post-match interview following Thursday night’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.
The evening began with City players applauding the Liverpool side onto the Etihad Stadium pitch in a guard of honour – albeit somewhat half-arsed – to acknowledge the Reds winning the title last week.
But with Liverpool unable to play at the level that had made them champions in the first place, the hosts took full advantage to prove they will remain worthy challengers next season. It was 3-0 by half-time, while it was nearly 5-0 in the end – only for the fifth to be chalked off after a VAR review.
“I saw a brilliant attitude. I saw fight. We didn't behave like somebody who became champions a week ago - that was all good,” Klopp told Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves in defence of how his players approached the game.
“We lacked fluidity, that's for sure. And in some 50-50 situations they were quicker than us in mind. They used their chances and we didn't. City were 100 per cent deserving, of course, but 5-3 would have been possible as well. But it's 4-0 and we have to take that.”
Bizarrely, Liverpool haven’t scored an away goal in any competition since a narrow 1-0 victory over Norwich in February, a run of five games without finding the net away from Anfield.
Klopp was clearly frustrated by the result and took exception to a question about whether Liverpool had opportunities to score, insisting it was obvious they did.
“Why are you asking me if we had decent chances?” he responded with a look of incredulity.
Klopp then took further exception when asked if there should be perspective attached to the result and Liverpool’s performance given that they have just won the title.
“If you want to lead the story in the direction that we were not focused on the game, then do it. You’ve asked a second time now and when I speak about attitude, I like how my team set up.
“I said that and I thought that was clear. I think we proved that point. And City proved they are an unbelievably good team. So isn’t it nice in this league that another team can be champions even when City are around and play this kind of football?”