The bitter defeat of his Liverpool FC had spoiled Jürgen Klopp’s mood. After the worst start to the season for the Reds in ten years, the coach has already written off the championship. “We’re not in the title race,” Klopp clarified after the 2: 3 (1: 2) at Arsenal. What else could he say when he’s 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal?
“We have problems at the moment,” admitted Klopp. His side have only won two games in their first eight Premier League games. On Sunday, of all people, the reigning champions Manchester City will come to Anfield with goal machine Erling Haaland. “Is this the perfect opponent to regain his confidence? Probably not,” said Klopp. Haaland has scored 15 goals in nine games of the season so far. Is Liverpool at risk of a debacle at home?
In London, the Liverpool fans who traveled with them must have felt like they were in the wrong movie when the euphoric Arsenal supporters sang “We are leaders”. You’ve heard that a lot at Anfield in recent years – it probably won’t be sung there this season. Liverpool, who nearly won four titles last season, have swapped roles with Arsenal for the time being.
The Reds certainly had chances of a point. Gabriel Martinelli (1st minute) and Bukayo Saka (45th 5/76th penalty) scored for Arsenal, while the visitors from Liverpool equalized twice through Darwin Núñez (34′) and Roberto Firmino (53′). “It was a really open game and I think we had a slight advantage,” said Klopp, “but then came the penalty.” He couldn’t understand Arsenal’s decision to take a penalty. “If two referees mean the same thing, then that’s the truth we have to live with,” he said, slightly sarcastically.
The Liverpool coach, who has been in office for almost exactly seven years, was at least able to take a few positive things with him. “We showed a few good things and could have gotten something,” he was sure. “I think a draw would have been a fair result but now we have to accept that and that’s okay.”
The focus is now on the next important upcoming challenges: On Sunday there is a duel with the permanent rival Man City and the outstanding ex-Dortmunder Haaland. Before that, Liverpool could at least take an important step towards the round of 16 in the Champions League with a win at the pointless Glasgow Rangers (9 p.m., in the WELT live ticker).
Before the match on Wednesday, however, Klopp is threatened with two failures. Luis Diaz and Trent Alexander-Arnold had to be substituted against Arsenal. Diaz suffered from knee problems, Alexander-Arnold was hit on the ankle in a duel. The extent of the injuries was initially unclear. “In seven years, Trent has never left the field if he could have continued playing,” emphasized Klopp. “He was in too much pain and it swelled up right away.”
A statement from the press conference also shows how serious the situation at Liverpool FC is and how much Jürgen Klopp takes it with him. “One of their colleagues told me he only knew me as someone who was happy and joking,” said the coach. “I don’t know exactly which Jürgen Klopp he knows. We’re not in the mood for jokes, nor are we cheerful. We are at a difficult moment and we want to get through it together. And we are working on that right now.”