Liverpool deserved to advance despite 'hard' game - Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp felt his Liverpool team deserved to progress to the Europa League round of 16, despite admitting they were not fully in control near the end of their 1-0 win over Augsburg on Thursday.
A fifth-minute James Milner penalty was the only goal of the night at Anfield, where the home side's inability to carve out a second goal left them hanging on to their advantage in the closing stages.
But manager Klopp put that partly down to Augsburg's caution, and added that Sunday's Capital One Cup final opponents Manchester City had needed time to kill off Dynamo Kiev in their Champions League tie on Wednesday.
"That's how football is. If you can't decide a game early enough that's how it is," Klopp told his postmatch news conference.
"Augsburg didn't change their plan, and we were that good that after 70 minutes we still couldn't see their plan. The free kicks was their biggest challenge for us.
"Everyone who saw the game would say we deserved to win. We had the best chances but the only thing was we didn't use them often enough.
"We couldn't control the game in the last 20 minutes but we are not the first team who had this problem.
"Yesterday Man City didn't use their chances, missed easy ones then Yaya Toure had a genius strike -- we did the same but forgot about the second part.
"It's completely fine and we had no injuries. It was hard, how it should be, and we're in the next round."
Liverpool were now in better shape heading into Sunday's final at Wembley, Klopp said, after watching his players come through Thursday's tie without suffering injuries or a shock defeat.
"If we'd had a defeat or been knocked out tonight... but tonight was not relevant in that sense," he said. "The team has benefited from the confidence of another match.
"You can say the same about Man City but we'll try to use this on Sunday."
Of the injury-free evening for Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, he added: "You need to know you can carry on in a situation where it's a bit hard -- Phil could carry on after some hard challenges. We need to find new faith in the bodies of the players and not think 'oh my god.'
"But we need them in the best shape and it's only through training and matches."
Klopp claimed that the surprise call-up for midfielder Lucas Leiva, who was moved to centre-back in place of Kolo Toure, was partly tactical and partly down to the workload shouldered by the Ivorian this year.
"We had to play more football on the back line," he said. "Kolo has a lot of quality and he wants to play always, but we played today against a deep-defending team.
"Against deep defending we needed in nearly all positions a player who wants to play a pass. Not the last pass from the last line but with passing skills. That was one thing for Luke.
"Another is Kolo did great but has played a lot of games. Luke was waiting and he did really well -- it's not too easy for him when he isn't playing. He's a different person, it's not easy for him to enjoy life, so he deserved this."
Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl felt the penalty award was harsh but was proud of his players.
"I think we were a little unlucky with the penalty but we kept it going right till the end and that says a lot for our team and I am very proud of the players and the club," he said. "We have seen over the whole campaign we have performed well and can be proud of that."
On goalkeeper Marwin Hitz's performance he added: "His saves kept us in the game. He has been doing that for the past few months."