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Klopp “not surprised” Liverpool struggled with low block – but only “half-time”

Jurgen Klopp was not surprised to see his side struggle with Arsenal‘s low block that was only made all the more stubborn after going down to 10 men, but the Reds are not out for the count.

It was a night to swiftly move on from for Liverpool on Thursday after lacking any potency in the final third, even with the Gunners having gone down to 10 men after just 24 minutes.

The absence of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane was always going to be obvious but the lack of dynamism and pace exacerbated the separation of the midfield and attack.

Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino both were unable to capitalise late on as the Reds handed Arsenal the home advantage for the second leg after failing to have a meaningful shot on goal.

“You have to change things that you naturally do, and then you face a team with one man down – not an excuse, just an explanation – now, you face a really low block,” Klopp told Sky Sports post-match.

“Now you have to be creative, well-tuned and we couldn’t be properly well-tuned because we are used to some movements that we don’t have now. That’s the situation and we always knew it.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino looks dejected after missing a chance during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The missing piece to the jigsaw and the Covid situation of the last week was pointed to by Klopp but these factors were known in advance and there is now considerable work to do on the training pitch.

But as the boss said, it is only at halftime in the League Cup semi-final.

“It’s how we wanted to start, actually. Lively. One of the best attacks, a really nice ball from Robbo but I would’ve preferred to score a goal instead of them getting a red card,” Klopp said.

“Especially after the game now! But that was the case and from that moment it looked like we felt somehow under pressure.

“It was already difficult because we had to change the lineup, for obvious reasons. A good lineup, I liked it a lot.

“In the end, if you play such a low block – that’s already in football the most difficult thing to do – and I’m not surprised we struggled with that a little bit.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Andy Robertson applaud the supporters after the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“In the second half with the few changes we made I thought we looked better, we had clearer situations, with Curtis and Neco – proper wingers, higher up.

“In the end, not good enough for a better result but it’s a two-leg game. It’s halftime. I can’t remember one time in my life being 0-0 at halftime and thought we have no chance anymore.

“We have an important game in between but from Monday on we will prepare for Arsenal the second half, we will give it a proper try.”

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