The idea Liverpool could have made it through to the end of the season without a bump in the road was always something of a long-shot, more hope that true expectation—albeit a hope driven by the unforgiving nature of facing Manchester City in a title race.
Whatever happens now, Sunday against Arsenal was clearly a bump. A poor performance from Jürgen Klopp’s side against determined opponents with a grudge and their own hopes of yet being the ones to challenge City for the 2023-24 Premier League title.
“Right from the start it didn’t really look like our day but maybe we could have turned it into our day,” Klopp reflected following the match. “Actually, second half we were there, we now understood how the game goes. We had the momentum after the late equaliser.
“Then we concede a second goal—and it was a very strange goal that doesn’t happen very often. We made changes as well around that time, but the momentum changed completely again and then we had a red card and that obviously made it really tricky to come back.
“Arsenal deserve the three points, there is no doubt about that: they scored three and we had one shot on target, so that stat obviously says the most. We should have had more, we could have had more, but because of the story of the game it didn’t happen.”
In the end, the 3-1 defeat felt harsh due to the nature of the goals against—all in their own way gifted to Arsenal through lapses by Ibrahima Konaté, Virgil van Dijk, and Alisson Becker respectively—but not undeserved on the run of play and the chances created.
Following Sunday’s disappointment, Klopp’s Reds have the week off to rest, recover, and prepare for Burnley and then the following week Brentford, two games where they know nothing less than maximum points will keep them in the title conversation.
“We can play much better football,” the manager added. “That’s actually one thing we take—we want to and have to play better football and we will. Could we have defended better? Yes, 100%, but they probably deserved the goals with the game they played.
“For today, the boys are not happy, but that’s it now, we don’t have to make more of a game. We take it, deal with it, and go from here.”