This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to BBC Sport after Liverpool’s victory over Brighton, Jurgen Klopp has hailed substitute goalkeeper Adrian as his man of the match.
What did he say?
After Virgil van Dijk’s first-half brace, Liverpool looked like they were coasting home to victory. But Alisson’s moment of madness saw him being shown a straight red card for handling outside the area, with Adrian having to come on to take over goalkeeping duties.
He was promptly beaten by Lewis Dunk’s free-kick, but aside from a couple of nervy moments, made some crucial saves and denied the Seagulls a dramatic equaliser. And following the conclusion of the match, Klopp was quick to praise the substitute shot-stopper for having to adjust to difficult circumstances.
He said: “Virgil (van Dijk) was probably man of the match with the two goals but Adrian is for me – to come in to a game like this and make two saves. Even the goal-kicks are difficult with cold feet! We were not prepared for that situation so I am completely happy.”
Make no mistake about it, the way Klopp handled the Alisson red card in his post-match comments is further evidence of why the Reds look like such a harmonious group in pursuit of their goals. It could have been so very easy for the German to have taken the opportunity to chastise his number one, and leave him out to dry for nearly costing his team dearly.
Instead, he brushed past it, and chose to focus on his number two, Adrian. The former West Ham man filled in when Alisson was injured earlier on in the season, and may have considered himself unlucky to have been dropped back to the bench when the Brazilian returned to fitness. And so in declaring him the man of the match for his late cameo, Klopp made sure to keep one of his fringe stars happy.
Winning trophies is always about a squad, and never just about the starting eleven. And in paying tribute to his number two, the Liverpool boss has made it abundantly clear that nobody’s contributions, however small, will be forgotten. If the Reds march on to the title, then little moments of genius like this will be looked back upon with great fondness.
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