Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool’s Champions League last 16 tie is ‘not over yet’ following their 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The European champions’ hopes of defending their title were dealt a major blow after suffering defeat in the Spanish capital, Saul Niguez scoring the only goal of the game after just four minutes, reacting first to fire home after an early corner came off Reds’ midfielder Fabinho.
Klopp’s side would dominate possession throughout much of the contest at the Wanda Metropolitano, though the club’s return to the scene of last season’s final success would end in defeat as they struggled to break down a stubborn Atletico rearguard.
The Liverpool boss admits his side lacked the required quality in the final third as clear-cut chances were at a premium, but says there is all still to play for ahead of the return clash at Anfield next month.
“It was not exactly what should happen but it happened,” Klopp told BT Sport. “It was the fight we expected and the atmosphere we expected but I love so many parts of our game. It is only 1-0 down at half time and the second half we play at our stadium.
“We lacked in the final third. They defended with all they had – their defending in the box was incredible. When you are 1-0 down with a team like this who only want this kind of result – 0-0 would have been good for them.”
Diego Simeone’s side were full of tenacity and intensity in a feverish atmosphere in Madrid, and Klopp was left unimpressed by the home side’s attempts to get Sadio Mane dismissed during the first period, the Senegalese forward substituted at half-time after picking up a booking.
“He was targeted. It was clear,” Klopp said. “They wanted to make sure he got a yellow card.
“It is only half time but you need to be really strong as a referee in this atmosphere. Already in the first 30 minutes three of their players went to the ground I don’t know what for. Nobody to blame. I am fine, 1-0 down at half time we have the longest half time break and we will use that.
“Welcome to Anfield. It is not over yet.”