Liverpool boss Klopp upset Chelsea game turned on denied substitution
LIVERPOOL -- Jurgen Klopp believes Willian's equaliser in Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea could have been prevented had they been allowed to make a substitution that would have changed his side's system.
Liverpool were denied three points at Anfield on Saturday when Willian's cross-turned-shot beat Simon Mignolet in the 85th minute to cancel out Mohamed Salah's 15th goal of the season midway through the second half.
Prior the equalising goal, Adam Lallana was stripped and ready to make his return from injury as a substitute, but the midfielder only came on for Philippe Coutinho four minutes after Willian had levelled.
When asked the explain the situation around Lallana's change, Klopp told his postmatch news conference: "Maybe ask the ref, I don't know.
"That's how it is, we never did really time play [wasting] -- people can say we are not really smart, but we don't do it because of that, we wanted to change the system, we wanted to bring a player and that means we have to give advice and he said 'no.'
"After the game I was not happy with it because we wanted to change, what we did afterwards, to five at the back.
"In my mind, Ragnar Klavan would have been exactly in the position where Willian crossed the ball, that means we would've blocked the cross in my mind.
"It doesn't feel too well when you couldn't change the system because the ref thought maybe it was time play or something else. No idea why he said 'no.'
"The assistant next to me was prepared, I was prepared, the player was prepared but [the referee said after the game] that the goal was four minutes after you wanted to change. Right! It didn't make my feeling much better, to be honest, but we cannot change it anymore."
On the match itself, Klopp added: "Both teams had a big, big investment in this game. So, everything was good until Willian crossed the ball.
"Most parts of the game are still good, but it doesn't feel that well, that's how it is. But the world is a strange and crazy place at the moment, there are so many much more important things that happened, crazy things are happening, so I can easily live with a point against Chelsea."
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane started on the bench at Anfield on Saturday and only emerged in the 89th minute when he replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Television footage appeared to show Mane visibly disappointed when talking to Klopp at the final whistle, but the Liverpool manager says the forward's frustration was regarding a conversation about the position he was playing in.
"I was shouting at him because he was in the centre, but no player is happy with that," Klopp said. "You come on the pitch for three minutes and you feel like you already have 150 minutes in your legs. I wanted to sort it immediately.
"He was not happy and he said to me that Mo [Salah] wanted to come into the position but Mo had already 90 minutes in his legs. So it made more sense that Sadio was close to the right-wing and started the game from this position.
"It's not a big thing, we could've done it in the dressing room and it would've been the same thing. Everything is now sorted immediately."
Salah again took the plaudits with a crisp finish 20 minutes into the second half, but Klopp said it was a team effort.
"I love this player, but I can't keep talking about him after every game. He is fantastic and did really well and that is why we left him on the pitch,'' he added.
"It's good for us but I thought it was a really good team performance in what was a tough game, Chelsea were defending with eight deep players.
"There were two really good sides with a fantastic energy. We scored a fantastic goal. This kind of game is not will not be a game you win three or four-nil, that is clear. You need a little bit of luck and I don't think we had it today.
"Chelsea fought hard and deserved the point but it doesn't feel perfect at the moment.''
Meanwhile, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson reckons Chelsea will be happier with the result.
He said: "They had some good chances to be fair, we were defending for large parts of the last 20-25 minutes.
"I'm a little bit disappointed because I thought we could have held on for the three points, so Chelsea will probably be happier with the point.''
Information from Press Association Sport was used in this story.
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.