December 3, 2021

‘Liverpool are not in dreamland, you have to score’ – Klopp bemoans lack of cutting edge in EFL Cup loss to Arsenal

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The German head coach was left frustrated after seeing his second-string side suffer a painful penalty shoot-out defeat

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool were not in “dreamland” after their EFL Cup loss to Arsenal, which he put down to a lack of cutting edge in the final third.

The Reds exited the competition at the round of 16 stage after being beaten 5-4 on penalties by the Gunners at Anfield on Thursday night.

Klopp watched his side beat Arsenal 3-1 at the same venue in the Premier League on Sunday, but took the opportunity to shuffle his pack this time around amid a congested fixture schedule.

The likes of Neco Williams, Marko Grujic, Curtis Jones and summer signing Diogo Jota were all drafted into the starting line up, with Takumi Minamino asked to lead the line in place of first choice centre-forward Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool managed to create the better openings over the course of the 90 minutes, with Jota and Van Dijk both going close, but could ultimately find no way past Bernd Leno in the Gunners net.

The match was eventually decided on penalties, and the match was decided when Harry Wilson stepped up to take the Reds’ fourth spot-kick of the night.

Unfortunately, the Welshman saw his effort saved by Leno, which allowed Joe Willock to step up and net the winner, sparking wild scenes of celebration in the Arsenal dugout.

Klopp was pleased with how his makeshift team performed in terms of their effort and build-up play, but he was left disappointed by a lack of creativity in the final third.

“If there would have been a winner in 90 minutes it should have been us but we are not in dreamland, you have to score,” the Reds boss said post-match.

“I liked a lot of parts of the game, we mixed it up a lot and I saw a proper performance, a lot of things we like on the pitch when you wear this wonderful shirt.

“A penalty shoot-out is tricky, everyone knows. That is it.”

Asked specifically what Liverpool’s performance lacked, Klopp responded: “Goals. So many things are different when you mix it up in decisive positions especially.

“I really liked how the boys did it, there were a lot of good individual performances, it could have been a Premier League game but here or there we lacked the last pass.

“There were not a lot of chances in this game because there was a lot of work from both teams closing each other down.”

Klopp added on Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence from the squad amid ongoing transfer rumours: “Some were not involved. It is the time of the year when some things happen in the background and you have to react – that is what we did.”