One of the best indicators of a great manager is his ability to know when to apply public pressure to his squad and when to deflect attention away from his players. Jürgen Klopp has proven himself quite good at this skill since arriving at Liverpool last fall.
After yesterday's 4-3 win over Arsenal to start the season, the manager chose not to criticize his team's defensive effort. The Reds allowed two goals in the late stages of the match to set up a nervous finish.
Instead, Klopp took full responsibility for letting the Gunners back into the match after his side had taken a three goal advantage. He said his celebration following Liverpool's fourth strike -- which included Sadio Mané leaping onto his back -- coaxed the squad into a false sense of security.
"It is not allowed to celebrate a fourth goal when there's still 35 minutes to go," Klopp said in his post-game press conference. "I knew in the moment, but it was too late -- I had Sadio on my back and in this moment we switched off the machine for a second. It was so intense, it was so wrong, it was the first game."
"In this moment, Arsenal were not in a good way and we opened the match for them again," he added.
Aside from the hilarity of Klopp describing the situation as if he was conducting a live reading of a bad romance novel, there's an important message of personal responsibility being conveyed. He's asked the team to commit more energy and effort in training than previous managers, so it's important that he holds himself accountable and gives his players a break after they earned a monumental season opening victory.
However, it would be a tragedy if this incident meant less mid-game Klopp celebrations for the remainder of the season. Those alone are (almost) worth the kind of stressful, nail biting finish we witnessed against Arsenal.