Blunders against Arsenal must not happen again: Klopp

Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette beating Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker to score the equaliser in their Premier League match at the Emirates on Wednesday. Arsenal went on to record a 2-1 win and become only the third team to beat the champion
Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette beating Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker to score the equaliser in their Premier League match at the Emirates on Wednesday. Arsenal went on to record a 2-1 win and become only the third team to beat the champions this season.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • While it was always a secondary aim to surpass Manchester City's record of 100 points set in the 2017-18 season, Jurgen Klopp had hoped it would prove to be the exclamation point on an outstanding Premier League season.

But having achieved their target of a first English top-flight title in 30 years last month with seven games to spare, Liverpool have understandably eased off, dropping eight points in the five games since.

As such, the Reds boss insisted on Wednesday he was not bothered about their failure to become centurion champions, claiming nothing would put a dampener on their achievement this season.

Speaking after uncharacteristic errors saw the visitors fall to a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal, Klopp, whose side can now achieve a maximum tally of 99 points with two games left, said: "I cannot make a negative of something so positive. I'm not the type of person who makes something negative out of, 'But we cannot get the 100'.

"We will get the points we deserve and we will see what that will be. At the moment, it's 93 (points) with two games to go (at home against Chelsea and Newcastle away). These boys played an exceptional season and nobody can take that away from them."

However, Klopp warned his players that they had to cut out the mistakes as evidenced at the Emirates, lest it becomes a habit.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring for Liverpool before Virgil van Dijk was easily dispossessed for Alexandre Lacazette to equalise via his side's first strike on target.

A miskicked clearance from Alisson Becker then allowed Lacazette to square the ball to Reiss Nelson for the Gunners' second, and having dominated the ball, it was a kick in the teeth that Klopp believes will be a one-off.

"The numbers I saw was 24-3 (shots on goal), 70 to 30 per cent possession, all for us - that's exceptional. But the result is the truth and we are responsible for that. We have to make sure things like this will not happen again," said the German.

To put van Dijk's mistake into perspective, this was his first error leading to a goal in the league since March last year against Fulham.

The Dutchman, aiming for a second straight PFA Players' Player Of The Year title, owned up to his blunder. "The goals, we give them as a present," he said. "If you give the goals away like we did, including myself, you get what you deserve.

 
  • 99

    Points that Premier League champions Liverpool can win this campaign, a point short of Man City's record from the 2017-18 season.

"I take the blame for it, I take it as a man and we move on. We'll try to win the last two games and get a well-deserved break, but we don't need to forget that we had a fantastic season already."

Arsenal joined Watford and Manchester City as the only sides to have beaten Liverpool this season, with two of those defeats coming after the Reds had won the title.

But with a 40-point gap between them and the champions, Mikel Arteta admitted he has a "massive job" to make the Gunners title contenders again.

"We need a bigger squad to compete in this competition. That's the challenge," the Spaniard, whose ninth-placed side look set to miss out on European football for the first time since the 1995-96 season, said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2020, with the headline 'Blunders against Arsenal must not happen again: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe