What a day. What a way to start the season. Liverpool's 2016/17 Premier League campaign started this morning with a trip down to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal while work finishes up at Anfield. Excitement, nerves, anxiety - they were all running high in the lead up to the match and rightly so. Despite injuries on either side, the Reds fought the Gunners handily to defeat them 3-4.
"Scoring four goals is wonderful, conceding three goals is the opposite of that emotion," Klopp said, speaking to the club after the match, and echoing supporters around the world. Much of the first half saw the same defensive errors that we've all grown accustomed to, with Arsenal's Theo Walcott opening the score sheet early after his penalty was blocked by Simon Mignolet.
"This was a really intense game for both sides and Arsenal made something like a little break in their game. We used it for being more of a threat to them. We needed 45 minutes-plus to get the free kick and it was the genius of Phil [Coutinho]. At half time, I was really happy about having it because we could speak about everything and it was clear - our mistakes were so big so it was easy to speak about them because the players already felt it, but couldn't change it in the game."
It's clear that the work rate was there, from every player, and that Klopp recognizes it. Not only that, but the ability to change focus, to shift and recognize the problem spots and hopefully do better to manage them during gameplay. It became evident in the second half, after Coutinho's second goal in the 49th minute, that we had managed to give them less space to move the ball and more room for ourselves. It really is refreshing, a manager who can recognize where we're having issues and work to the make the necessary changes before the final whistle.
Despite everything, Klopp finished up with a thought that will likely echo those of supporters around the world: "It was hard work but a deserved win in the end. It feels brilliant at the moment, actually.”