Liverpool and Sunderland shared the points as it finished in 2-2 at the Stadium of Light. It was overall an a commendable performance from the Reds, given the circumstances, but also a disappointing result, again given the circumstances. Playing less than 48 hours after a rousing, but draining win over Manchester City, Jürgen Klopp, a vociferous critic of the lack of a Premier League winter break, refused to criticize his side in a post-match interview. He instead chose to point out the irony of broadcast blackout policies preventing a large chunk of the matches during this festive period from even being televised domestically:
“It was very difficult, you have no idea, because we can play better football but I don’t know if we could’ve played better today because we played two days ago. But you all want to see these games even when you don’t show to your own people in the country.
“Maybe it’s not a nice interview,” he went on. “But I have no idea what to say since usually I say ‘we should’ve done this better, we should’ve done that better’ but on the other hand, I’m proud [of my team] because they tried everything, they fought like I would’ve expected.”
The crush of matches looked particularly impactful on Klopp’s side on the day, given the energy levels required to implement his gameplan coupled with the niggling injuries throughout the squad that have limited his selection options.
Even so, Liverpool appeared to have squeezed through after Sadio Mané finished from close range in the 71st minute to retake the lead; however, the departing Senegalese international soon proved influential on the other end, handling inside the box after a softly-conceded free kick. The German was particularly critical of referee Anthony Taylor, who in truth, had a fairly poor game on both sides of the ball.
“There was no foul before the second free kick and penalty,” Klopp said. “That’s very difficult today. Usually I speak about the football, but I have no idea what my players would’ve been capable of.”