Klopp claims Courtois performance proved final was 'going wrong' for Madrid

By Sports Desk May 28, 2022

Jurgen Klopp congratulated Real Madrid on their Champions League final win but highlighted the number of statistics in Liverpool's favour as they came up just short in Paris.

Indeed, Klopp claimed a historic performance from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could only be possible if "something is going wrong" for victors Madrid.

Courtois made nine saves against Liverpool to preserve a clean sheet, capping one of the great individual Champions League campaigns.

He finished top of the competition's charts for saves (59), save percentage (80.6, minimum five saves) and goals prevented according to expected goals on target data (4.7).

Courtois capped his terrific European run in style at the Stade de France, as his save tallies for both the final and the campaign as a whole were highs for any single Champions League season since Opta records began in 2003-04.

His heroics also contributed to Liverpool setting a new record for the most shots attempted in a final without scoring (24).

Despite this profligacy, with Vinicius Junior putting away one of just four Madrid attempts in a 1-0 success, Klopp put forward Liverpool's case for winning the match and pinpointed Courtois' display as a concern for their opponents.

"After the game, when I saw the stats, it was 50-50 possession," he told a news conference. "We had a lot more shots, a lot more shots on target, but the most decisive stat is absolutely on Madrid's side.

"Just to make sure that nobody thinks I wouldn't congratulate Real Madrid, I do that now, but I [also] congratulated everybody present and involved outside personally.

"They scored a goal, we didn't – that's the easiest explanation in the world of football, and it's hard, harsh to get anyway, [but we] respect that of course.

"When the goalkeeper is man of the match then something is going wrong for the other team, so we had, I think, three really big chances where Courtois made incredible saves. I would have loved to have had a few more of this calibre."

This was Liverpool's 63rd game of a long season, in which they played three finals and took the Premier League title race to the wire, and Klopp acknowledged fatigue could have been a factor while still believing the Reds did enough to go home with the trophy.

"Let me say, [the number of matches] doesn't help, but I don't think it was the reason," he added.

"We all know, the chances we had, when the player shoots a ball, the ball going in or is on the foot actually only an inch, that's all. Nothing to do with being at the peak of your physical things or not.

"We had these situations, the chance in the one-on-one situation from close range from Mo [Salah]; we know how often Mo scored in these situations. It was just an outstanding save from Courtois, we have to respect that as well.

"I think Madrid had one shot on target, is that right? And that was a goal.

"But, look, I understand 100 per cent and I respect 100 per cent the reason for playing football and having these kinds of competitions is to win the game, and whatever you do – as long as it's in the rules – it's allowed and you can do it. It's completely fine."

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