Jürgen Klopp defends Salah’s finishing after Liverpool exit Europa League | Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool squandered their Europa League chances at Anfield last week and insisted Mohamed Salah’s wastefulness was not the cause of their quarter-final exit against Atalanta.

Liverpool were unable to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit in the quarter-final despite dominating the first half and Salah scoring an early penalty. A 1-0 win signalled the last European game of Klopp’s Liverpool reign. The Liverpool manager admitted the failure to add a second goal was crucial in Bergamo but refused to pin the blame on Salah, who was guilty of the biggest miss.

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“We didn’t lose the tie tonight, we lost it at home last week,” said the Liverpool manager. “It’s very easy to congratulate Atalanta because they deserved to go through. When you win a tie against us 3-1 in especially this way you deserve it absolutely.

“But I loved our game, especially the start. I loved the commitment, desire and power we developed in this game but it was clear we had better score from time to time otherwise it could be tricky over 90 minutes. How it always is: the second goal could have helped a little bit. Atalanta started confident but with a few situations we had I think we gave them some concerns and they realised it would not be easy and that’s the game we gave them. I am really fine with that. Disappointed we didn’t go through but not frustrated or angry.”

Salah has toiled by his standards since returning from a long injury lay-off, the first of his Liverpool career, but Klopp denied the Egypt international’s form is a worry. “I’m not particularly concerned,” he claimed. “That’s what strikers do. We have to go through it, he has to go through it. He is one of most experienced players in the squad. It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s part of the game. The penalty was super convincing, then the next chance was unlucky, but it’s not the first time he has missed chances like that. I won’t make a big story of it.”

Liverpool struggled to create as many chances in the second half and exited Europe without seriously threatening another comeback. Klopp reflected: “The biggest problem in the second half was that we couldn’t keep the tempo. You saw Trent [Alexander-Arnold], a player we didn’t have for a while. As long as he was fresh together with Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] he set the tempo and rhythm but he was running out of gas.”

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