Kloppin' mad - Five reasons for Klopp's anger in Pool's win
Gary Lim expalins the Reds boss' fury in their 1-0 win over Black Cats
(Christian Benteke 46)
On the sidelines, Juergen Klopp was raging.
It was a bemusing sight.
Liverpool were leading Sunderland 1-0, and were on course for a morale-boosting win to end the year.
His team were enjoying the lion's share of possession, looking the better side on away ground and creating the better goal-scoring chances.
But the German looked an unhappy man in spite of the 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Was the win achieved because of the way Liverpool played, or despite the way they played?
Here are the reasons for Klopp's fury:
This was Liverpool's second clean sheet in a row, the first time they achieved that since they began the season with three on the trot.
Yet, it was down to Sunderland's ineptitude in front of goal that ensured that their goal would not be breached.
The back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren pulled off the job, although probably not as convincingly as Klopp would have liked.
There was an alarming lack of concentration when the opponents started to build up momentum.
Jermain Defoe had an early chance, taking the ball easily from the right flank to the edge of the box to fire a shot that Simon Mignolet tipped over the bar.
Twice, Fabio Borini took advantage of defensive confusion in the penalty area in either side of the break to nearly score.
The way the defence handled themselves in the closing stages also showed a lack of composure.
Liverpool's backline wasn't helped by the attackers who lost the ball too easily on numerous occasions in the final third.
While the Reds enjoyed 58 per cent of the ball possession, they were wasteful in attack mode.
As a result, Sam Allardyce's men were able to constantly threaten with their quick counter-attacks.
Clearly, Philippe Coutinho has yet to recapture the form he showed before his injury.
Adam Lallana often hesitated on the ball instead of keeping things simple.
Striker Christian Benteke had an awful game, with the winning goal his only saving grace.
Of the 17 shots they managed, only one went into the back of the net.
And this has been Liverpool's story of the season.
Their statistic of 22 league goals scored is the joint-worst (the other being Manchester United) among the top nine clubs, and is equalled by even 15th-placed Norwich and 16th-placed Bournemouth.
Roberto Firmino had a decent game but really should have gotten on the scoresheet.
A good early chance was spurned because of his poor first touch, and when presented with a free header later in the first half, he could only direct it at the goalkeeper.
Substitute Jordon Ibe had a chance to seal the victory late on, but blasted the ball over the bar.
Benteke then missed the best opportunity of the game, when clean through on goal, by firing straight at the goalkeeper.
Liverpool's £32.5-million ($68.1m) signing had fallen behind in the pecking order.
Klopp had picked Divock Origi, and even Firmino, who isn't a natural striker, ahead of him in recent outings.
He was in yesterday's team only because Origi and Daniel Sturridge were injured, and Firmino was used as a supporting striker.
The big Belgian's lack of conviction in hounding the opponents as his team's first line of defence is likely why the manager hasn't been a huge fan of his.
Klopp's high-pressing game, which centres around industry and absolute teamwork, demands exactly that from a striker.
Benteke's second winning goal in successive matches appeared to have been the best response but, for the second game in a row, his performance was also marred by a moment of shockingly poor finishing.
Who can forget his atrocious miss against Leicester City in the previous match, when he failed to guide the ball into an open goal when the opposing team's goalkeeper was still trying to sprint back from a late, desperate attack?
Klopp had previously voiced concerns about his team's mental vulnerability when under stress, and this display merely reinforced his belief,
A sloppy final half-hour gave the hosts hopes of a comeback.
The way Liverpool ended the game resembled cup underdogs hanging on for their dear lives while protecting a one-goal lead.
The closer the match moved towards the final whistle, the more unsure Liverpool began to look.
Firmino's appalling 78th-minute clearance, that went high into the sky and down into his own six-yard box, and the chaos that ensued, injected confidence into Sunderland.
The injury-time corner that Sunderland earned had Liverpool fans fearing the worst.
The team could do with some leaders when the pressure was on, but they were nowhere to be found.
The Reds eventually survived, but only barely.
Klopp fumes over Lens' tackle
COME ON: Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp insists that Sunderland's Jeremain Lens (right) should have been dismissed for this dreadful tackle on Mamadou Sakho (left). PHOTO: REUTERS
While Liverpool's unconvincing display must have left boss Juergen Klopp less than satisfied, a dreadful challenge by Sunderland midfielder Jeremain Lens on Reds defender Mamadou Sakho had him fuming.
Lens careered wildly into Sakho in an ugly clash as time ran down during the Reds' 1-0 Premier League victory at the Stadium of Light yesterday morning (Singapore time), and was only booked by referee Kevin Friend.
However, Klopp, whose staff became involved in heated exchanges with their Black Cats counterparts on the sideline in the aftermath, insisted Lens should have been dismissed.
He said: "I don't want to say now, 'Come on, give him a red card'. I have no problem with this player, but if you go like that, everything can happen.
"That's not allowed. For me, that's a red card, finish, that's it."
Asked if Sakho had escaped serious injury in the incident, Klopp added: "I hope so, yes. But we cannot decide and say, 'Okay, nothing serious happened and it's nothing'.
"A lot of small things, they got yellow cards and you think, 'Why?' and this is a yellow card too? It's not how it should be. But it's over, it's okay, there's nothing to talk about."
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, however, was of a markedly different opinion, saying with tongue firmly in cheek: "He's a soft German. It's not a red card, it's a yellow. It's a foul."
Asked about the verbal confrontation on the sideline, Allardyce said: "There was some foul and abusive language towards my staff that I didn't like. After the end, it was all right, though, because we all shook hands and got on with it, which is what we have got to do." - PA Sport.