Liverpool entered Saturday’s match against Manchester United as the Premier League’s in-form side, having outperformed Manchester City in 2018 and looking likely to finish next best to them in the final table. They left it looking rather shakier.
They’re down to fourth in the table, five points behind United in second, and looked largely ineffective on Saturday against their rivals. It’s left manager Jürgen Klopp in a rather annoyed mood, eager for the chance to show his side can bounce back.
“We have to respond, 100 per cent,” Klopp told the club’s official website when asked about Saturday’s stinging 2-1 defeat. “I still have to work to swallow this one and it’s quite difficult. It’s really difficult to take. The mistakes were obvious.
“Before the two goals, after the two goals, I thought we were dominant. We don’t ignore the goals we conceded, but you would say, ‘OK, that’s how you have to play.’ We had these things in pretty much all moments, but we didn’t score. “
Liverpool had more possession and did more with the ball than United, but against a Jose Mourinho side having more possession and doing more with the ball often doesn’t end up with three points given the Portuguese manager’s tactical tendencies.
Mourinho often sets up to frustrate top opponents, and it was no different on Saturday—they sat deep, drew Liverpool out, and put long balls over the top to pick on Dejan Lovren and Trent Alexander-Arnold. And earned a lead against the run of play.
On the whole, though, Liverpool had a right to feel aggrieved given they were the better side and saw a clear penalty denied in the second half. There’s room for feeling annoyed, then; justification for it. But, at the same time, United did earn their victory.
It wasn’t pretty, but they set up to frustrate Liverpool and capitalise on their weaknesses, and the final scoreline says that worked—leaving Liverpool and Klopp a day or two to get over their annoyance and then get to work on showing they can bounce back.
“I think we deserved the goal and then it was the situation with the best piece of football in the whole game, the one-two between Roberto and Sadio and a clear foul and no penalty,” Klopp added. “That’s hard, but not to change anymore.
“I think with all the minutes around the two goals we conceded then a draw would have been deserved for us, but because we made these two mistakes we have to take the result like it is. It feels massively rubbish and that’s not nice.”