clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Klopp Talk: “Cup Competitions Are Not About Being the Better Team It’s About Winning”

In a league, you can take comfort from being the better side but failing to score. In a cup, you score or go home. On Sunday, Liverpool sent Arsenal home.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

In the first half of Liverpool’s FA Cup Third Round tie at Arsenal, it’s probably fair to say the Reds were second best. A fired up opponent looking to right the perceived wrongs of December’s league meeting and the Gunners’ tactical tweaks gave Liverpool trouble.

As the half wore on and then especially at the break, though, Jürgen Klopp’s sides made their own necessary tactical tweaks, looking to force the issue on the wings and focusing the pressure on Arsenal’s fullbacks. The result was a far more balanced half and a Liverpool victory.

“Everything was better in the second half,” Klopp said afterwards. “In the first half, it was difficult to prepare for what Arsenal did. For the full 90 minutes but especially in the first half, with [Kai] Havertz and [Martin] Odegaard a double ten with wingers wide.

“We had to defend deeper and, to block balls and stuff like this, but then that’s football as well, then you have to show desire, passion, determination. And then we changed obviously as well quite a bit and that caused then Arsenal problems. That’s how football is, these little parts.

“We used now the information from the first half and tried to do better and did much better, everything was better. Then we created step by step, we were more in the game, we had our chances, we defended them better.”

In addition to Klopp tweaking the tactics to deal with Arsenal’s unexpected tactics, the Liverpool manager felt that as the game wore on and the scoreline remained level it made it more difficult for the Gunners to be the home side as support from the stands was replaced by growing nerves.

“A home game is actually an advantage,” he noted, “but when you are better and don’t score, it’s normal for humans that you get in kind of a rush. So it usually doesn’t get better in the second half if you don’t score and we felt more and more comfortable.

“We all know cup competitions are not about being the better team, it’s about winning the game and we had in the second half much more good moments and deserved the next round. But of course we could have lost tonight as well, that’s clear.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liverpool Offside Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Liverpool FC news from Liverpool Offside