Jurgen Klopp has confessed that centre-back Ibrahima Konate was fortunate to avoid a red card in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday.
Everton full-back Ashley Young was given his marching orders towards the end of the first half after picking up two yellow cards for fouls on the electric Luis Diaz, but the Toffees were furious when the odds were not evened after the break.
Konate, already on a yellow card, dragged Beto down but escaped a second booking, with referee Craig Pawson ultimately handing out a caution to Everton boss Sean Dyche for his protests.
Klopp responded to the incident by immediately substituting Konate, and he confessed after the game that the Frenchman was fortunate to stay on the pitch.
“Ibrahima, could have gone, yes,” the Liverpool boss told BBC Sport. It could have happened obviously and then we took him off and from that moment we were solid and compact.”
Klopp was otherwise delighted with how his side performed, adding: “I liked it a lot. It is a derby, you have to consider different stuff With a better last pass in the first-half we are 3-0 up. Our counter-attacks and good offensive transitions, we should have scored and didn’t.
“We didn’t allow them to do what they wanted. We were clear in the challenges. It is difficult because it was a deep block and they adapted slightly and set up to our strengths.
“I liked a lot of moments and then the red card was pretty influential in the game. I wanted us to be calm and ignore that we were one man up. It is difficult in the stands because it’s like now you have to create with each possession and it took a while until we got chances. And then the penalty. I saw it back and it is a clear penalty.”
Reflecting on the game, Konate’s centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk added: “In my opinion the hard work came form the fight Everton put in. The long balls, the set pieces, they tried to counter on us but we were very prepared for it.
“The message was to stay patient and play quick from side to side. They made the change at half-time to play with five at the back and we had to be more patient.
“It is difficult to face teams playing with ten men. We have been on the other side and done well. Our mindset was they were still playing with 11 because it is a bit of mental thing when you have a man extra.
“We have been doing it [breaking quickly] for many seasons it is a big strength with the pace. The second goal especially. It is something we enjoy and have to keep going.”