Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool ‘lucky’ Man City didn’t go for more goals in defensive disaster
Jurgen Klopp acknowledged Liverpool’s own defensive deficiencies were behind their thumping 4-1 defeat to Manchester City and said the manner of conceding goals in the second half meant the Reds were fortunate their hosts were not in a more punishing mood.
Despite Mohamed Salah giving Liverpool the lead, City hit back before half time through Julian Alvarez and scored three more after the restart, including two in quick succession straight after half-time where Klopp’s defence was nowhere to be found.
Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan were the beneficiaries for those goals, with Jack Grealish adding a fourth for the home side late on, but each of Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold played a clear part in allowing City the space and time to cause havoc and create chances.
Klopp was largely happy with his team’s first-half efforts but stated their showing in the second 45 minutes “absolutely cannot happen”, as the Reds conceded at least three times in a Premier League game for the sixth time this term.
“City were dominant and we were organised and in the game. We scored and had another big counter-attacking moment and at half time the key areas were clear: we must control the double six, control the double 10. If they get spaces then it’s pretty much impossible,” Liverpool’s manager said on BT Sport at full time.
“Then we concede to an open ball in midfield where we don’t even have a challenge; for 3-1 we have a massive overload, again don’t even have a challenge - these kinds of things absolutely cannot happen but they happened.
“After that, they can do whatever they want and we have to follow and it’s lucky they were not in the most greedy moment.”
Following this defeat - Liverpool’s third on the spin in all competitions - the fixture list does not get much easier as they travel to Chelsea in midweek before hosting league leaders Arsenal at the weekend.
Klopp will not be taking too much out of the loss at the Etihad, therefore, other than having yet another example for his squad over the type of football he doesn’t wish to see.
“There’s nothing good to say about the game apart from to use it to make clear what cannot happen. No challenges in key areas, be that kind of open - it’s absolutely not possible [for us to do]. I have to stand here and explain it and I cannot.”
BT’s pundits in the studio similarly felt that the result is a big nail in the coffin of Liverpool’s attempts to get back into the top four and next season’s Champions League, ahead of a crucial few days.
“They seem to have lost their mojo. I’d be fearful of the top four as a Liverpool fan,” said Rio Ferdinand. “Teams around them are more consistent. It’s such a big week for Klopp and his team.”
“It seems bizarre considering last season[when Liverpool almost won all four trophies]. We saw a gulf in the two teams today and it’s not the first time. Away from home Liverpool’s record is poor,” pointed out former Reds forward Peter Crouch. “It’s not just a one-off, it has been a disappointing season.”