Jurgen Klopp set the Liverpool bounceback in motion within 48 hours of their first Premier League defeat of the season at Manchester City.
Though pleased with the performance at the Etihad, the highly driven manager detailed to his players the small mistakes that cost them – errors he doesn’t want repeated in order for the title to return to Anfield.
‘It takes a night for me to think about games and then speak out to the lads about what I saw,’ says Klopp. ‘We don’t want to make too big a fuss of one game because it was by the smallest of margins but it wouldn’t be too smart if I said everything was brilliant. We could have calmed the game down earlier.
‘Could we have defended the second goal better with the high line? Yes.
‘The result wasn’t positive but the performance wasn’t negative. We won three games against City last season but in these games they were better, we only scored more goals.
‘In this one, the possession was 50-50, we caused them problems. Everybody would say it was a very tight game.’ It may be a blessing for Klopp that having seen his side’s gap at the top reduced to four points, Liverpool have an extra day off and a different competition to contend with, tomorrow night’s FA Cup tie at Wolves.
‘When I saw Wolves away, I thought “Wow, that is a tough draw”,’ admits the Liverpool boss. But although he will make changes and give rare starts to Simon Mignolet, Alberto Moreno, Naby Keita, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, everyone will be looking at Liverpool’s attitude to see if they can make sure it is only a one-game blip. Local boy Trent Alexander-Arnold, who wasn’t born the last time Liverpool were champions, is firm in his resolve that the team won’t melt after the body blow of Leroy Sane’s winner.
‘City has gone now. It’s important we bounce back,’ said the young England right back. ‘Wolves was an important game anyway but even more so after our first League defeat. We were dreading the moment of losing a game but it’s about reacting in the right way.
‘City lost their unbeaten record at Anfield last season, at the same time of year, and they responded by going on another long run of winning games. Our manager will tell us what he expects now. It’s a bitter one to take but we won’t let it ruin our season.’
Alexander-Arnold recalled Steven Gerrard’s heroics when Liverpool won the FA Cup in 2006. They have won only one trophy since, the 2012 League Cup. ‘Too long really for a club like this,’ admitted Alexander-Arnold.
Klopp’s skill as a manager is knowing when to push and when to put an arm around his players. He may have lost Thursday’s battle to Pep Guardiola but he believes his players can still win the war. ‘They react well to setbacks,’ he said.
Liverpool, without injured Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have lost the ability to use Bournemouth-bound duo Dominic Solanke, sold for £19million, and Nathaniel Clyne, who after long-term back trouble has resumed his recovery there on loan.
‘Clyney asked if he could go,’ added Klopp. ‘I said “Yes, you can” because we have other options. To keep him in the right shape and confidence is not easy. He must play more than he has in the last two years.’Daily Mail