December 8, 2021

Klopp impressed by Jota’s first Liverpool start but ‘not happy’ with Leno

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The German coach singled out the duo for their respective performances on Thursday night

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp liked what he saw from new signing Diogo Jota as the attacker made his first start for the Reds in a Carabao Cup defeat against Arsenal.

After a goalless 90 minutes at Anfield on Thursday, the Gunners would triumph 5-4 on penalties as they bounced back from a recent 3-1 loss inflicted by the Reds. 

Klopp fielded a starting XI without the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold for the cup clash with Jota handed his first start for the club after his move from Wolves

Rhys Williams, Neco Williams and Harry Wilson also earned rare starts for the Reds with Klopp happy with their performances despite the result. 

“Diogo made his first appearance from the start and it looked really good in a lot of moments – his physicality mixed with his technique is really a nice thing to watch,” Klopp said post-match.

“All the others just did their jobs. We had Rhys Williams, for the first time since I am here at least, on the pitch against a proper Premier League side and he did exceptionally well.

“Neco had one or two moments, but apart from that, a really good game. Don’t forget he played against Nicolas Pepe that was quite a big signing and quite a quality player.

“Harry Wilson, my God, played in centre-mid more or less in position No.8, defended well and I saw his football skills as well.

“I liked a lot of parts of the game but we lost in the end and that’s the part I don’t like.” 

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno proved decisive on the night as he saved two spot-kicks in the shootout. 

The Gunners’ No.1 left Klopp frustrated and the Liverpool boss let the player know his feelings after the match. 

“I told him after the game I was not too happy about that! Both halves were good, but in the second half we shot him warm for the penalty shootout. Really good moments,” Klopp said of Leno.

“As a manager I wish that we scored but I want to see that we create. A lot of moments in the game and it’s then about individual quality. We have the quality and we showed the quality, but it just didn’t work out tonight and that’s completely ok. We will try again, I can promise.”