Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool took another step in the right direction with a stirring comeback that saw his side recover from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Arsenal at Anfield.
Roberto Firmino’s 87th-minute header ensured the Reds secured a point from an action-packed Premier League encounter on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah had halved the visitors’ lead, earned by Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus, shortly before the break and the Egyptian spurned the chance to equalise by missing a penalty in the early stages of the second half.
Liverpool pushed hard for a late winner after Firmino’s goal but two fine saves from Aaron Ramsdale meant a frantic game finished all square.
Read a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference below.
On Liverpool’s response to falling two goals behind and their fightback…
The reaction was top, obviously. Going 2-0 down is not so cool. The first goal was, I would say, kind of unlucky; Robbo slips, they go inside and then it’s two rebounds – I’ll have to watch it back, but that’s how I saw it in the first place. In the end, Martinelli gets a foot on it. That’s the 1-0. The 2-0 happened in a situation which we shouldn’t have had that often: not the cross and the ball in, [but] that the ball arrives there and we didn’t have a challenge beforehand. So, for that we needed a higher last line – that was a massive subject all of the time. I understand with the threat they are on the wings with Saka and Martinelli speed-wise that it doesn’t feel massively comfortable but we have to do it anyway. In the moment when we started getting more compact, line higher, midfield closer, front three together it was not as easy anymore. In the moment when we got that, we were better in the game. In possession it was OK, it was like a lot of long balls because we didn’t maybe move enough in decisive areas, it was a slightly different set-up which the boys had to adapt to to get that. But long balls is not a problem, we can go for second balls and we had a few good ones where we could make more of it. We had chances before we scored, good moments, to be honest, [but we] didn’t use them.
Then the goal is the most helpful stuff in football because then before half-time it’s 2-1 and I think everybody felt we can turn this game around. That’s what we actually did performance-wise, result-wise halfway. The question I had in my mind when I walked in after the game was, ‘How can we not win this game?’ But we didn’t. It’s a point and that’s OK. It’s another step in the right direction I would say. It’s the first time in a long time we reacted really well, we didn’t fall apart. That could have happened with everything that happened already this year – 1-0, 2-0 and then a next chance for 3-0, but that didn’t happen because we looked better. We looked more ready in these moments to fight back. That’s what we did and in the second half we should have turned the game completely around with the chances we had. At least a point is OK.
On why his side have not been able to reach the level they showed in the second half often enough this season…
We lack consistency and confidence, these are the two things and now why don’t you have confidence? Because we don’t have enough positive moments and if you have them then you don’t build on them or you misunderstand them – that’s in life like it is in football, exactly the same. So, we have these ups and downs in games and over the season. That’s something we didn’t have ever before, since six or seven years, but we have it this year and that’s obviously the situation we are going through. It’s not cool, it’s not something we wanted, but we go through this and I said it before the game: you don’t sort it overnight. That’s what we learned, obviously. Of course when we had a normal start to the season, not perfect, and then you win 9-0 against Bournemouth – how can you not misunderstand that? It’s not that the next game we were completely all over the place but we were expecting to score from pretty much each situation, we didn’t, so we didn’t build on that.
With the 7-0 then against [Manchester] United, slightly similar, the next game was Bournemouth – yes, we are 1-0 down, but we could have scored the equaliser and I think that was a good moment to turn the game around but we didn’t and then it’s like we always try to catch up with ourselves pretty much. So, there are so many things that happened this year. There is an explanation for each one but in general it’s what I said, that’s what we lack. And today that’s why it’s so important, this is not something now where we go home and don’t get our arms down, it’s just we helped creating an atmosphere in the stadium and the people were outstanding, especially in the second half, it was fantastic but that’s because of the way we played and that’s absolutely cool.
That’s something we have to take and we have now a long week which is a big difference as well and I like it, the fact that we have enough time to train, real time to train, real time to recover for a few boys and real time to train, bringing boys back. For Thiago it’s super-important that he has a few training sessions on top of the few he had, Luis Diaz will be back in full and normal team training and available for the game so these things are really, really good news. Then we have to go again, this time Leeds… that will be a tough one but no excuses, we have to make sure we are ready again and build on today. I said after the Chelsea game it was a step in the right direction, probably a lot of people thought, ‘What is he talking about?’ But it was a step from different points of view and today, that was another step. We were part of a spectacular football game because we were good for an hour: OK but conceding in the first half an hour and then good, and we should have won the game – but we didn’t – against the team in form, flying. They are 2-0 up, anything can happen today and it didn’t because of us and that’s fine.
On Trent Alexander-Arnold’s position in the game…
Yeah, it’s now not the first time. We did that before, maybe it was not that obvious, but we did that before that we put Trent inside. In the build-up Trent played more inside, double No.6, that’s how it is. He needs to get used to it obviously, I would say it’s a big step to do that in a game against Arsenal. It opened up different opportunities for us, if you watch it back you will see that after we learned to use it… Hendo was not wide, stayed inside and then we could pass down to Mo and Mo kept the ball really well today, first half already where we could go from there. So I thought he did well. It was not the first time but not for a while and that is why I am fine with how he executed it.