Wednesday 26 July 2017

'Tomorrow the sun will shine' - Jurgen Klopp looks on the brightside after FA Cup exit

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks with Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks with Daniel Sturridge

Jonathan Liew

Slaven Bilic described West Ham’s 2-1 win over Liverpool as one of the greatest nights in the history of the club. Angelo Ogbonna scored the winning goal in the 121st minute of the game, and an emotional Bilic said: “I can’t control the emotions. It is a special night.

“There is no harm in saying it’s a special night for our club. It is a great night for West Ham. OK, it is only for the last 16, but it was a late-night kick-off, it’s against Liverpool, it’s our last season at Upton Park, it went to the 120th minute, and we scored a great header in the last second of the game. That’s why this will go down in history as one of the greatest nights, and greatest games, for our club.”

Bilic said the match could also provide a springboard for the rest of the season, despite worrying injuries to defenders Joey O’Brien and Winston Reid.

“These kind of victories are like pre-season,” Bilic said. “They give you a boost of energy, they give you a boost of fitness. You are like two inches taller. Everyone was great in our team. Some of the players played not in their primary positions, like Michail Antonio who did a brilliant job. We didn’t have a weak link. I am very proud of the guys. They left their heart on the pitch.

“If we produce a performance like this we care capable of beating any team in England.”

West Ham captain Mark Noble admitted he was already planning for a penalty shoot-out. “I was thinking: ‘where am I going to stick my penalty?’ ” Noble said. “And then Angelo saved us all the heartache. That was a strong Liverpool team there. Tonight we matched them.”

Jurgen Klopp may have lost an appendix, but he did not vent his spleen. The Liverpool manager defended his misfiring striker Christian Benteke, who worked hard but also missed a host of chances to win the game for Liverpool. The £32.5 million striker has now gone 10 games without a goal, and Klopp said: “Ask 80 to 90 per cent of all strikers, high quality, low quality, no quality. They will tell you they have times like this. You have to carry on.

“Tonight it was a good game without the maximum finish. It’s not the nicest moment in his career but he has to work hard. He wants to score and we need him to score.”

But on the whole, Klopp was satisfied with the way his young, experimental line-up had competed. “We created chances but we didn’t score goals,” he said. “We are Liverpool, and at this moment it is not the most sunny side.

 “Two-nil in the lead [against Sunderland on Saturday before drawing 2-2], manager in the hospital, out of the FA Cup.

“But tomorrow the sun will shine. We can take a lot of positives out of this game. We did a lot of things really good, we played the game in the right direction. But the first real chance went to West Ham.

“Our goal was great, a high-quality goal from Coutinho. Then still we did well, created chances and put up a big fight. Then they got a free-kick, without a foul, and we concede a goal. So, now we go home.”

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