Liverpool 2 Watford 0: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rescinded his invitation for all fans to travel to Basel for the Europa League final after admitting it was “not too smart”.
On Friday at his press conference the German said “it is even worth going there without having a ticket for the game to be around the stadium”.
Liverpool have been allocated just 10,236 tickets for the 35,000-capacity St Jakob Park and, though there is a possibility of obtaining extra if defending champions Sevilla do not sell out — plus securing some of the 9,000 which went on general sale — tens of thousands are planning to travel.
Hotels are fully booked, as are most flights and, with the club and police appealing for ticketless fans to stay at home, Klopp has backtracked.
“I heard today was my 49th game as Liverpool manager, which means I have had 5,637 press conferences and I’ve said a lot of things in these press conferences,” he said after the 2-0 home win over Watford.
“Most of them are easy to forget, but last time I spoke about Basel, I spoke like a supporter, and I invited all Liverpool fans to Basel.
“That was not too smart, to be honest. Basel is a nice city, but it is not ready for us and it was my mistake.
“I have to take back the invitation to Basel. Please, only people with tickets go there, because everything else will be chaos and we don’t want this, we have to concentrate on football.
“It is wonderful to be in the stadium, but if you cannot be there then stay at home or come to Liverpool and watch the game together with friends and let’s have a party after this.
“It is really, really, really necessary that you now listen — most of the time you can ignore what I say, but now it is important.
“We have to send the team plus 10,000 fans and the rest all over the world can enjoy the game with best friends and family.”
Klopp made eight changes and the match, settled by goals from Joe Allen in the first half and Roberto Firmino 14 minutes from time, was nondescript, with Liverpool focused on the final and Watford having nothing to play for.
“Today, there was no problem with changes. It was a real professional performance and we did what was necessary,” added Klopp.
“We didn’t play brilliant and it was not a game for the Liverpool museum, but we did what we had to do.”
Since securing their top-flight future, Watford have won just twice in their last 10 Premier League matches and, despite keeping them up and guiding the club to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Quique Sanchez Flores’s job appears to be under threat.
The Spaniard refused to talk about his future, insisting he just wants to enjoy the remainder of the season.
“The rumours are normal. You need to learn to live with these kind of things,” he said.
“Sometimes life is ridiculous, but it is out of my control. I am not afraid of anything. It is not time to talk about me, it is time to talk about the match.
“It is important to be a realist and try to enjoy the moment we are living with Watford.
“Sometimes, I could be sad about the people around me who are not enjoying this experience, but not for me.
“I understand life is very hard, football is very hard and [there are] normally more bad situations than good situations. When you get promotion, it is usual to live with pressure, but we have avoided that. If people are not able to enjoy this, I am sad for that.
“I am completely happy. I want to enjoy the last month of the competition.”
Mignolet, Flanagan, Skrtel, Lucas, Moreno (Randall 88), Allen, Stewart, Ojo (Brannagan 78), Ibe, Coutinho (Firmino 61), Benteke
Subs not used:
Toure, Sturridge, Bogdan, Chirivella
Gomes, Cathcart, Prodl, Britos, Anya, Abdi (Amrabat 69), Mario Suarez (Guedioura 53), Watson, Jurado (Berghuis 57), Ighalo, Deeney
Subs not used:
Nyom, Paredes, Ake, Pantilimon
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