Jurgen Klopp didn’t like pulling Sadio Mane off at half-time in Liverpool’s 2-0 v Atletico Madrid, but said it was “the right thing to do”.
Mane, who was cautioned in the first half, was replaced before the start of the second by his manager, despite his team’s second goal of the game.
Klopp feared Atletico Madrid players would have Mane sent off[/caption]
But after Atletico defender Felipe’s red card, Klopp said it was something he had to do so Mane didn’t suffer the same fate.
“I think everyone in the stadium was expecting it. I thought it was the right thing to do and hated it more than you can imagine, ”Klopp said.
“I wasn’t worried that Sadio couldn’t handle his emotions – he was calm but the point is the ball comes up in the air for a header challenge and the [Atletico] the player breaks down.
“We have all seen what the Madrid players have done, ride to try to match the number of players again. I didn’t like it, but it was the right thing to do.
While Mane remained on the pitch, another of their forwards, Roberto Firmino, did not.
The Brazilian, who came on at half-time, had to be substituted himself in the 78th minute, with what Klopp confirmed to be a hamstring injury.
But the German boss says it was one of the only downsides of the night after his side advanced to the knockout stage.
“If Firmino hadn’t left with a hamstring injury it would have been a lot better,” Klopp added.
“Pretty much from all our points of view it was a good performance. I wasn’t expecting this when I saw the draw. No one would have expected doing it to be special enough.
“For tonight, work done, two games to go and we will try everything to win them too.”