Jurgen Klopp has said that Liverpool’s last-gasp 2-1 win at Newcastle United on Sunday was “more difficult” than their Champions League comeback over Barcelona in 2019.
The Merseyside club went 1-0 down and had to play with 10 men for over an hour after Virgil van Dijk was sent off but substitute Darwin Núñez scored two late goals to salvage a thrilling victory.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
– Super-sub Núñez shows Liverpool can count on him
Liverpool stunned LaLiga giants Barca with a stunning 4-0 comeback victory at Anfield on their way to winning the 2019 Champions League but Klopp said the task at Newcastle was much harder.
“It was much more difficult than the Barcelona game,” he told Sky Sports. “That was at home and we played a sensational first game that was lost 3-0 but learned a lot about ourselves and knew we could hurt Barcelona if we defended them properly.
“This was completely different. We didn’t start well, conceded a goal and a red card. We actually played better from that moment on with much more control. Newcastle struggled to create as we were more compact and fought really hard.
He added: “At half-time we said if we can turn this around it would be something to tell the grandkids — I see mine in 10 days, so I will tell them.
“I have no clue what it means [for the rebuild] but in this moment, with my history of over 1,000 games I’ve never had something like that in that way, at Newcastle, with that atmosphere – it’s crazy. I’ve never had that, it is special, what it means? I have no clue. Next week is Aston Villa, who are strong so we have to be ready.”
The Liverpool manager also praised Nunez for his cameo off the bench after the Uruguay international scored his first goals of the new season.
Despite impressing in preseason, the 24-year-old hasn’t started a game this term but Klopp said he will get more chances after his match-winning performance.
“Definitely what I said to Darwin had no influence on his performance,” Klopp told reporters in his postmatch news conference. “Pep Lijnders can speak to him and that’s what he did, I just give him a hug and encourage him to go out there and fight for the team.
“That’s it. Darwin, we had that before, he is not happy for not starting, that’s how it is but somebody, in this early stage of the season, cannot start. We cannot have 11 players and play them all the time, so we need to find stability is the discussion… I don’t know if the public discusses it but of course players are not happy [when they do not start].
“But after the international break we play every three days and nobody can play all the games so we have to make sure we have different options to go for. And we need to create a new way to play football and, of course, Darwin can be a super part of that.
“His key strengths are exceptional, absolutely, but we need to find stability as well. So, for him everything will be fine but it is just maybe it had to be like this — if he wouldn’t have been that angry and started the game today, he wouldn’t score two in the last six minutes or whatever, so let’s take it like that.”