Jürgen Klopp argued Liverpool's failure to preserve their lead at Arsenal was not a result of the team's collective defending but simply individual mistakes.
With 52 minutes played at Emirates Stadium on Friday, the Reds were on course for a fifth consecutive away victory in the Premier League courtesy of goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah.
But in the five minutes after Salah doubled the advantage, Klopp’s men shipped three in their own net and thereby cost themselves an emphatic win – albeit, Roberto Firmino did go on to equalise and claim a point.
As he spoke to the media following the final whistle, the Liverpool manager was asked a series of questions on how such a scenario can occur. Read his answers below.
Q: Are individual mistakes down to lack of quality?
Klopp: It’s how you learn from it. Sevilla away, was it individual mistakes? At home [against] Sevilla, yes, we missed the ball. Tottenham, yes, we missed the ball – that’s how it happens. Unfortunately, with mistakes like this, you have to learn from it. To avoid them completely is not possible but you have to learn from it, that’s what we have to do. A lot of players in this side and squad are still young and young enough to learn, that’s what we will do 100 per cent. But stopping it like that [clicks fingers] could be difficult.
Q: Your side are great to watch but do you take implied criticism from that?
Klopp: No, no. It’s absolutely positive. We didn’t give any chance away because we were so offensively orientated – if you would do that it would be bad. We conceded goals where we were all behind the ball. You cannot train that [a player] is there when another makes a mistake, it’s quite difficult.
I don’t take it as a compliment, it’s a fact: we are a very good football team, that’s how it is. But to be much better we have to avoid mistakes like [these], we have to use our chances more often. It would have been strange but the deserved result would have been 6-3 for us. Scoring six goals at Arsenal, what should they say now? That you can run through all the time? We all will continue. Arsenal is still a fantastic football team, we are not so bad.
I don’t need compliments, the boys don’t need compliments, what we need is consistency. We have consistency performance-wise, not always genius, but really on a positive side. Unfortunately, it still leads to too many draws, that’s another truth.
Q: Do you have to defend better?
Klopp: If you find players who make no individual mistakes, we have to change everything. But it’s not about that, we have to defend better as a team. These goals tonight…
Ask any team how often they outplayed us. That’s defending. Pass this, pass that, into the box and then score – that doesn’t happen. Set-pieces happen but we are even better there, we score more than we concede now.
We are on the way. We have to keep the team together and improve the team or if we can’t keep it together then we have to involve other players – that’s a job for the future.