DORTMUND, April 8 – Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at his ex-club Borussia Dortmund had spiced up their Europa League quarter-final and predicts Anfield will light up for next Thursday’s return leg.
Klopp’s Reds grabbed a precious away goal when Liverpool striker Divock Origi netted in the first half before Dortmund captain Mats Hummels equalised with a bullet header.
“Now there’s a real bit of spice in the tie, Anfield will be on fire, but we haven’t got the feeling we’re through,” said Klopp, who produced his trademark pumped-fist sideline celebration when Origi scored.
“Dortmund is a pretty good side and everyone could see that, but we had our moments and we could have won the game.
“I’m fairly sure a lot of people thought we would lose two, three or four-nil, but at some moments we had Dortmund under pressure and around our goal we were brilliant.”
“Things could have gone worse and all in all it was good a good result from our perspective. Around the time we went 1-0 up, we really showed what we can do.”
On his much-hyped return to Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park stadium, Klopp received a warm welcome having walked away last May after seven years as Borussia coach.
During his reign, Dortmund won the 2011 Bundesliga title, the club’s first league and cup double in 2012 and reached the 2013 Champions League final.
His name received a loud cheer from the home fans when it was read out before kick-off and he hugged Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke on the halfway line during the warm-up.
“It was nice. A lot of people had talked about me coming back, but when I came onto the pitch it was respectful applause and that’s nice,” he added.
“That’s how it should be.”
But Dortmund were left to rue their missed opportunities as Marco Reus and then Henrikh Mkhitaryan failed to convert clear first-half chances.
“We didn’t play that well. The goal we conceded was a bit too easy. In the end, the draw was a fair result,” said Hummels.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said his side had not played the carefree football he had hoped for.
“Perhaps we gave them a few too many instructions before the game. We seemed too preoccupied,” said Tuchel.
“I had hoped we’d play with a few more smiles on a few lips.”
Klopp’s Liverpool will start next Thursday’s return leg at Anfield as favourites to reach the semi-finals.
“We’ll lay out a plan for the Liverpool game to turn the result in our favour,” said Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, who pulled off a great second-half save to deny Philippe Coutinho.
“It was clear to us that it wouldn’t be an easy game and so it proved, we didn’t start well.”
Liverpool deserved to take something from the away leg and left-winger James Milner put in a strong display as a marauding menace to the Dortmund midfield.
“We came here to get the win and we did well today,” said Liverpool’s Germany defender Emre Can.
“A 1-1 draw is a good result, but the chance of going through is still only 50-50.
“It is very difficult to play against Dortmund, but we repeatedly made headway in their defence.”