Liverpool’s performance yesterday made the team worthy of no excuses and Jurgen Klopp abided by this through attempting to mask his disappointment surrounding Southampton’s behaviour at a crucial point in the match.
Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster went out of his way to put James Milner off prior to his penalty kick, scraping the spot with his boot and delivering a few unhelpful verbal messages to help delay proceedings as much as possible.
It seemed to work as well as Liverpool’s left-back saw his effort saved in what proved to be one of the most frustrating games this season.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “I really don’t like it, even after we only drew, to make now a story of it. You saw what happened, so you don’t need my say on it. It’s not how I understand how you should handle a situation like this.”
“On one hand people will say it was very smart because Millie missed, but on the other people will say it’s not how sportsmanship works. It is how it is. It took a long time, it’s not nice, but in the end two yellow cards for them.”
“But with this delay and the time play of Southampton – I don’t know how long Forster needed altogether for his kicks – four minutes [added time], I have to say that’s ambitious.”
“But obviously I have nothing to do with it, I can’t decide and whatever we say, you always look then like bad losers or whatever. You saw it, write it and then if nobody reads it then obviously it’s no issue.”
Milner’s decisive miss unfortunately dominated immediate headlines and cruelly disguised the fact he was by no means to blame for yesterday’s miserable result.
He was hurting at the end which, considering the circumstances, is something that must be turned into a positive. It shouldn’t have taken a penalty to beat Southampton at Anfield and, in truth, Liverpool didn’t deserve three points anyway.