Jürgen Klopp quickly congratulated his fellow coach Erik ten Hag on the win and thanked the fourth official. Then the Liverpool coach took a minute to process what he had seen. His team gave their all at Manchester United but again failed to win.
The 1: 2 sealed the false start of Liverpool FC in the new season. After two previous draws against Fulham FC and Crystal Palace, it was Manchester’s first defeat. After three game days, the Reds are ranked 16th in the table with just two points. The gap to leaders FC Arsenal is already seven points. Long-term rivals Manchester City are also five points away.
“It’s not the easiest situation, but it’s like life: if it rains, you have to go out,” Klopp told Sky TV. “That wasn’t a disaster game from us,” said Klopp, in the meantime “a bunch of really good stuff has been brought onto the pitch”. “What hurts the most is the result – and we have to deal with that now.”
Manchester, who had lost the first two games, started the game as a changed team. A very strong early phase was crowned by former Dortmund player Jadon Sacho with the goal to make it 1-0 in the 16th minute. “We knew it was an important game, that we had to turn things around today,” said the England international. “Last week hurt a lot, we knew we had to hit back.”
Liverpool played well and created good chances in a fast-paced game. But United also scored the second goal. Marcus Rashford scored after the break to make it 2-0 (53′). “The energy on the pitch is the biggest success factor. We started the game with more tempo,” said Rashford.
Despite the great effort Liverpool put in, it was only enough for Mohamed Salah to make it 2-1 ten minutes before the final whistle. The defeat made Liverpool’s false start to the new season perfect. Last season, Klopp’s team lost the championship in the early stages when Liverpool only won six from their first eleven games. Not enough in the heavily occupied Premier League. Even a fantastic final sprint with 15 wins from 17 games was no longer enough to take the title away from Manchester City.
Klopp knows how serious the situation is and is addressing the crisis. The first win of the season is needed against Bournemouth next Saturday: “Anfield has to rock there, we have to kindle the fire. We will try absolutely everything that the Liverpool fans expect of us. We will fight for our lives.”