The general consensus after the defeat at Arsenal was that it was a bad day at the office, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not often we’ve said that and thus, no overreaction is needed.
Conversely, Liverpool created just 0.37 xG themselves – their lowest in the topflight this season.
“Are you allowed to win average football games?” Klopp asked rhetorically after the defeat. “Yes, absolutely, that’s fine. But for today (Sunday) it didn’t happen.”
Uncharacteristic mistakes and too many players off their top level ensured winning ugly was well out of reach, even with the goal that came just before half time.
Arsenal were the better team, and yes, it is a blow to a rival we cannot afford, but it is not the time for deep inquisitions or overreactions.
A setback, nothing more
If you look at the Premier League table, Liverpool still sit top of the pile. The gap may not be as comfortable as it could be, but the points are, at least, on the board.
“Nobody celebrates the champion and nobody is relegated as far as I know (after this match), so we have all the chance to create our own destiny,” Klopp rightly assessed following the defeat.
We all know the machine that Man City is and the fine margins that win you the league or leave you agonisingly placed in second, but Liverpool’s fate is still in their hands.
City still have to come to Anfield, and they will later host Arsenal – with at least 15 games still left to play, the result at the Emirates was far from fatal.
Discounting the ridiculousness that was the defeat at Tottenham, to lose the first game of the season in February, on matchday 23, off the back of our own shortcomings is not going to put a line through the campaign.
There’s plenty of time for twists and turns.
After 15 games unbeaten, the Reds showed they’re human. Admittedly, they did not pick the best time to broadcast that, but they will learn from it and quickly move on.
It is a setback, nothing more.
It all adds up
In the run-up to the Arsenal game, Liverpool have been dealing with absences in the double figures, with injuries and international exploits adding up.
Klopp noted his side were tired after their midweek win at Chelsea and it showed at the Emirates, his team were sluggish and reactive and were fortunate to head into the break level.
The manager admitted he would have liked to have seen the match “longer at 1-1” having, at last, “found a way into the game,” but it was just a fixture too far in the end.
It is never enjoyable to have to sit on a defeat for too long, but the six-day break before Burnley arrive at Anfield ought to afford a time for the squad to reset and welcome back a few faces.
And let’s not forget, Thiago made his long-awaited return after 285 days out of the matchday squad – a sight we weren’t sure we would see again.
A further injection of depth and quality will help the Reds get back on track and the only way to put this bad day at the office behind them is to respond against Burnley, then Brentford, then Luton and so on.
Klopp’s side have long proven they know to bounce back and retain perspective, they will need that again now – and amid all that, they will still know what they have done to date is good enough for top spot.