LONDON — Jurgen Klopp launched himself into the air when Adam Lallana scored Liverpool’s second goal to put them ahead and when Sadio Mane spanked in a beautiful fourth goal for the Reds, the players raced to the bench to celebrate what looked like a certain win with their manager.
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As Mane jumped on Klopp’s back, the German coach was clearly lost in the moment with his players.
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Following Liverpool’s thrilling 4-3 win at Arsenal on Sunday, Klopp admitted he became too emotional and sent out the wrong message to his team as they raced into a 4-1 lead with just under 30 minutes to go.
“I made a big mistake,” Klopp admitted. “I was involved in celebration and it was a wrong sign for all of us. I felt for everybody in this moment. In the end you look at the watch and you see, ‘oh…’ there is still half an hour to go or something. That is not good. The crowd was a little bit angry, obviously, and Arsenal fought back and scored the goals. We defended again not so good but after the third goal we were then again back at the races.”
Scoring four goals away from home against the team who came runners up in the Premier League last season is admirable — albeit it against a makeshift Arsenal defense — but Klopp was concerned about Liverpool’s sluggish start.
Theo Walcott opened up the scoring 69 seconds after his penalty kick was saved by Simon Mignolet and Liverpool got out of jail right on half time as Philippe Coutinho scored a stunning free kick from over 30-yards out to make it 1-1.
That led to a glut of goals at the start of the second half with Lallana putting them ahead, Coutinho scoring another and Mane belting in a screamer. Then came two goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers to make things interesting but eventually Liverpool held on for a win on the opening weekend.
“Scoring four goals is wonderful, conceding three goals is the opposite emotion,” Klopp said. “We didn’t start well in the game. I saw what we spoke about, we did it like 50 percent of peak. We had a high formation, not a compact formation. It means it was much too easy for them to play football in-between our rows and the spaces we gave them. They felt better and better and better. We felt not good. We asked for the goal and they got it.”
Is the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes buying better defenders between now and Aug. 31 when the summer transfer window shuts?
“We will see. Actually I think we will try with training and analyze things a few times,” Klopp said. “I said until the 31st August, why should I decide anything? Improvement, in my understanding, is training using the quality you have. We were far away today from showing our overall quality.”