Jürgen Klopp rued the nature of the goals Liverpool conceded as they were beaten 3-2 at Manchester City.
The Reds’ defence of the Carabao Cup was halted in the fourth round on Thursday night, with efforts from Erling Haaland, Riyad Mahrez and Nathan Ake overcoming responses from Fabio Carvalho and Mohamed Salah.
In addition to providing fitness news on Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner and Virgil van Dijk, the manager reflected on the key moments at Etihad Stadium during his post-match press conference.
Read a summary below…
On Liverpool’s performance on the night…
A difficult start. First 15 minutes we had problems and City played much too often through our midfield. We all know City always have different ideas for different games and you always have to get used to it during the game, you never know exactly what will happen. And obviously the positioning of De Bruyne and Gundogan in combination with Palmer and Mahrez gave us some problems, on top of the problems [that] you have Erling Haaland in the centre, which you should not forget in all these movements. In these situations we were not compact enough, that’s why they could pass the ball through; that costs you confidence, conviction, stuff like this. But we found a way back in the game. We were 1-0 down, scored our goal, a wonderful goal. [We] had good football moments, before the goal already we caused them problems as well. So, 1-1 result, OK, half-time.
The second half starts and I don’t know how many minutes were played and they scored the second goal. By the way, the first chance of Haaland at the start of the game, first half, was offside wasn’t it? Yes, it was. That gives the game a direction, that’s like the first situation, boom, oh my God, they are through. It was offside but nobody whistled, no flag up in all the build-up, it gives you a bad feeling, just to say that. But then the second half, the goal, they scored that. We should have defended all three goals much better. This one, not in the last moment because when Riyad takes the ball with the first touch it’s just world-class and I respect that a lot. But before, on the side, we should be in better positions, on the other side.
Third goal especially, we are not switched on when they start their little routine, cross is coming in, we are not in the right positions, not enough players watched the ball early. These kinds of things. So there is obviously still a lot of space for improvement. But then we had our moments, we could have scored more goals, they had more chances. Spectacular game, I would say, for that early stage again. High-intensity. So there’s a lot to take from [the game] – the result obviously not and the goals we conceded not. But in between, yes, we played – I said it a couple of times – probably the best team in the world, they are unbelievable how they are and what they do, so it’s normal that you struggle in moments, so I accept that. That’s why, especially in the big difficulties I will not count too much now because we will not play every three days against Man City. But we can do better and we will work on that and then let’s make sure we’re ready for Aston Villa.
On whether he was surprised by the level of the game with it being the first of the season restart…
I didn’t really think about it. I know that for us it’s always like this; obviously City, from time to time but only when we are really on top of our game then it’s possible, because in the game it’s always like this: it’s like we push each other always in the games to the next level. There were spells – City better, us better. I didn’t really think about how good it can be but I saw the game as well. It was really good.
From our point of view, we had to change late. Bobby only in the last session felt something, so he was out. Then we had other problems. We planned Oxlade to start and obviously he is in a good moment, then he got ill two days ago. This morning he was fine. There are different struggles you always have and against City you better should have a perfectly oiled machine available because, how I said, they always do little things differently which have a big impact and you have to adapt to that quickly. We needed tonight 15 minutes, which was nearly too long but we found a way back in the game and that’s good. But in this game, in your own possession spells you need 100 per cent confidence and conviction and these first 15 minutes cost you; you need more time, you feel in a rush where you are not. I think we had chances, especially using Darwin in behind, there were massive spaces for us as well. Good game. Was I surprised? I didn’t think about it, to be honest.