Christian Benteke thumped a wonderful header past a helpless Maarten Stekelenburg with less than fifteen minutes left to play as Liverpool looked to be en route to their first win of the Jurgen Klopp era, but some late drama saw Saido Mane snatch the equalizer before being sent off late on as the Reds had to settle yet again for a share of the spoils.
“We had our moments and situations. We had everything you need in a close game to win. We made the goal and we wanted to win, of course,” explained the German manager in his post-match press conference. “This free-kick – everybody knows you should avoid things like this against a team like Southampton with their spring in the air. We lost three one-on-ones in the air, bad luck, and it’s a draw,” he conceded. “There was still 10 minutes to go. We didn’t give up physically, it’s not that we stopped our game physically, but we didn’t believe anymore that we could turn the game around. That’s a problem, that’s why we’re not calm enough in the moments when we have the chances, the last pass and so on.”
Video courtesy of Fooball TV 2
Learning an new system and adapting not only your style of play, but your entire game plan is never easy and with only a short time between matches to work with the side, Klopp has his work cut out for him. A lack of composure on the ball was evident as Liverpool not only failed miserably to put an acceptable number of their shots on target, but to keep the game flowing at a speed that will cause teams problems. Often too slow in the build-up, a lack of confidence and familiarity with what the manager is looking for continues to hamper our ability to get the best out of our pressing game — something that will change as the players become more comfortable in the transition from defence to attack.
“It was an absolutely fantastic goal. There were many good moments in the game,” enthused the 48-year old with his familiar smile on his face. “We can talk about why we didn’t make the next step, why we didn’t do this – but we all know it takes time. I see development, but the problem is the other teams don’t wait for us. They want to win and beat us,” he continued, much more seriously. “I don’t know what Ronald Koeman has said, but I am sure he didn’t think it was an easy game for them. They’ve played really well this season away from home, they’ve had good results and haven’t lost a game, so there was quality on the other side – and they didn’t play on Thursday,” added Klopp, before giving his team a vote of confidence. “In my eyes, we were the better team and had more situations. I saw development, I saw the next step, I saw many things, but of course we are disappointed because of the result.”