Monday 16 September 2019

Jurgen Klopp claims his players avoided the 'biggest banana skin in history' at Southampton

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp urged his players to avoid the 'biggest banana skin in history' ahead of their game at Southampton and they responded with a battling 2-1 win.

Goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino paved the way for what looked set to be a comfortable Liverpool win, before a late error from keeper Adrian handed Southampton late hope on a day when they were outclassed for long periods.

With Liverpool's win coming just three days after a draining UEFA Super Cup win against Chelsea in Istanbul, Klopp could not hide his delight as he poured praise on his players.

"I said before the game that this looks like the biggest banana skin in history; everybody is waiting for it and probably all the headlines were written already," said Klopp.

"I told the boys the headline I would prefer is 'the mentality giants were in town' – that's how I feel it in the moment. The boys did an outstanding job for today, all good, let's go home, recover and start again.

"I was really impressed with how fresh we looked, in the start especially, just how good we were. We controlled the game, we were fluent, all that stuff and then with the long balls and set-pieces Southampton came up then.

"Then Sadio scored a fantastic goal in pretty much the best moment at least of the first half and in the second half we made other big steps."

Adrian's late error handed former Liverpool striker Danny Ings a chance to score a goal when the match appeared to be over as a contest, with Klopp recalling his first-choice keeper Alisson Becker made a similar error at Leicester last season.

"We really controlled the game better, did a lot of good things and then Adrian thought 'I played really well, so maybe I have to make the same mistake as Ali did!' and kept the game a little bit open," he said.

"So then they came up and Ingsy had a big chance. That's normal and I think then the boys felt the tiredness, that was the moment you think 'really? Now we have to go again?' So, we kept the result, I think we deserved the three points and I'm completely fine with that."

The victory allowed Liverpool to equal a club record set by their First Division champions in 1989 as they notched an 11th successive league victory, with Klopp revealing keeper Adrian was only cleared to play a few hours before the game as he shook off an ankle injury.

"He had a clearing session this morning at 10 o'clock and then the message flew to my iPhone and said he is fine," added Klopp.

"If the message would have been he is not then I would have had to make a decision, but until then it was all good. We were waiting for that. He said at breakfast he would be fine, but we had to test it and that's what we did.

"I don't think the goal was because of his ankle problem, but if you saw his ankle on Thursday you would say he had no chance to play in this game. Thankfully it was all fine."

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