Jurgen Klopp has explained how he missed out on seeing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cheeky assist for Liverpool’s fourth goal in their Champions League triumph over Barcelona last season.
Klopp told The Players Tribune: “Losing 3–0 at Barcelona in the Champions League last season was the worst result imaginable. When we were preparing for the second leg, my team talk was very straightforward.
“There was no Rocky this time. Mostly, I talked about tactics. But I also told them the truth. I said, ‘We have to play without two of the best strikers in the world. The world outside is saying it is not possible. And let’s be honest, it’s probably impossible. But because it’s you? Because it’s you, we have a chance.’
“I really believed that. It wasn’t about their technical ability as footballers. It was about who they were as human beings, and everything they had overcome in life.
“The only thing that I added was, ‘If we fail, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way.’
“Of course, it is easy for me to say those words. I am just the guy yelling from the touchline. It is much harder for the players to actually do it. But because of those boys, and because of the 54,000 people at Anfield, we did the impossible.
“The beautiful thing about football is that you can’t do anything alone. Anything, believe me.
“Unfortunately, the most incredible moment in the history of the Champions League … I didn’t actually see it. Maybe this is a good metaphor for the life of a football manager, I don’t know. But I completely missed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s moment of pure genius.
“I saw the ball go out for a corner.
“I saw Trent walking over to take it. I saw Shaqiri following him.
“But then I turned my back because we were preparing to make a substitution. I was talking to my assistant, and … you know, I have goose bumps every time I think about it … I just heard the noise.
“I turned to the pitch and I saw the ball flying into the goal.
“I turned back to our bench and looked at Ben Woodburn, and he said, ‘What just happened?!’
“And I said, ‘I have no idea!”’
“Anfield was going — boof — absolutely crazy. I could barely hear my assistant, and he was yelling, ‘So … do we still make the substitute?’
“Hahahaha! I will never forget him saying that! That will always be with me.
“Can you imagine? Eighteen years as a manager, millions of hours watching this game, and I missed the cheekiest thing that has ever happened on a football pitch. Since that night, I have probably watched the video of Divock’s goal 500,000 times. But in person, I only saw the ball hit the net.”