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Klopp explains why he subbed Mane at HT in Liverpool loss

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Jurgen Klopp,Sadio Mane
Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp is hoping for more Anfield magic after holders Liverpool were beaten 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid, while he explained why Sadio Mane was taken off at half-time.

Saul Niguez scored the only goal of a dour last-16 contest at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday, leaving the Premier League leaders needing a turnaround in the second leg in three weeks’ time.

Anfield has played host to many famous European nights, the greatest of which arguably came last season as Liverpool overturned a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in the semi-finals.

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The Atletico crowd certainly played their part in a ferocious atmosphere in the Spanish capital and Klopp now wants the Reds to produce their own version.

The German said: “The crowd wanted to help their team tonight. That makes it a very emotional game.

“Emotions are important. Tonight they were obviously completely on the side of Atletico but I am really looking forward to the second leg.

“We speak from time to time about the power of Anfield and the power a stadium can have, tonight you saw that.

“It’s half-time and we are 1-0 down. Why should we give up? Even better, the second half will be in a different stadium, our stadium, that will be different and Atletico will feel that, and that’s what we are looking forward to.”

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Niguez struck after just four minutes as Liverpool failed to clear a corner. It was one of a number of openings the hosts created early on as the Merseysiders made an unusually shaky start.

The side that have won 25 of their 26 Premier League games this season were then made to pay the price for their sloppiness as Atletico retreated to spend most of the rest of the game sitting back.

Klopp had did not have much issue with those defensive tactics but he and his players grew increasingly irritated by time-wasting and other acts of gamesmanship.

Klopp revealed his feelings when asked why he withdrew Mane, who had been booked, at half-time.

He said: “Obviously the plan was to get Sadio out of the game with a yellow card. I was afraid his opponent would go down even if Sadio takes a deep breath or whatever, so I didn’t want to have that situation. That’s why we took him off.

“It was difficult for the referee to deal with the atmosphere but after 30 minutes three Atletico players were already on the ground without being injured. The ref just needs to feel that game a little bit more.”

Liverpool will assess Jordan Henderson after the captain left the field with a hamstring injury 10 minutes from time.

Football 365

Vanguard News

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