Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal (4-5 on pens): Jürgen Klopp’s reaction

Jürgen Klopp highlighted the positives he could draw out from Thursday night’s Carabao Cup encounter with Arsenal despite Liverpool’s elimination.

The Reds’ journey in this season’s League Cup ends at the fourth-round stage after the Gunners emerged 5-4 victors in a penalty shootout at Anfield. 

Klopp’s side created a number of chances throughout the goalless 90 minutes but were knocked out when Bernd Leno saved Harry Wilson and Divock Origi’s spot-kicks. 

Read on for a transcript of the boss’ post-match press conference…

On the performance and how close the younger players are to being involved in the Premier League…

Close – and that’s not too easy in a squad like this. But they learn, they want to learn and they are able to perform in a really tricky game today. It’s not only tricky because you are young, it’s tricky because the manager sends you on the pitch with a team which usually doesn’t play together. I thought they did really well and that’s why I say I liked it a lot. But I like Virgil and Mo as well, very professional. Millie anyway is very, very professional and leading these kind of young boys. What can I say? It’s difficult to be too positive about a game when you don’t win it but actually it would have been a draw and I think against Arsenal a draw is still a really good result. Then we lost the penalty shootout. We had the bigger chances in the game, so I think we did a lot of good things in this football game and that’s what you wish for as a manager when you send the boys out there. With that part of the game I was pretty happy, with the performance I was happy. Yes, we could be a little bit more clinical in finishing but Bernd Leno made a really good game, to be honest, so he could make a few saves. And in the end, the penalty shootout – the oldest story of football, it’s luck and a lot of things. Arsenal shot really well and us not the exactly same and that’s why we lost.

On Xherdan Shaqiri’s absence from the matchday squad… 

I cannot and don’t want to say anything about that. The only thing, he’s not injured and there were no disciplinary reasons. So he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just the time of the year where sometimes the manager gets some information and then I have to react on that. We will see what happens.

On whether he’d have preferred to have won the Premier League game or the Carabao Cup tie tonight against Arsenal from the two games this week…

I cannot make that decision, I want to win both games. We have the three points already, so how can I [pick]? It’s now a really easy decision, I wanted to have not only all three points but this win as well. I thought we did everything to be a deserved winner, that’s how I understand sports – that if you do that and [then] you still have to accept [if] it doesn’t work out, but it was not because of the performance. Yes, the boys can play better, but I’m not sure they can play better after two days together in training doing the tactical stuff against a changed Arsenal team. Not only changed personnel-wise, but change from a system point of view as well. They did their analysis as well and they didn’t want to give us the same spaces like in the last game. It would have already been difficult if we would have played the same teams again. You have to learn from the game and l thought the boys did really well, we defended them really well and we played really good football. Diogo made his first appearance from the start and it looked really good in a lot of moments – his physicality mixed with his technique is really a nice thing to watch. All the others just did their jobs. We had Rhys Williams, for the first time since I am here at least, on the pitch against a proper Premier League side and he did exceptionally well. Neco had one or two moments, but apart from that, a really good game. Don’t forget he played against Nicolas Pepe that was quite a big signing and quite a quality player. Harry Wilson, my God, played in centre-mid more or less in position No.8, defended well and I saw his football skills as well. I liked a lot of parts of the game but we lost in the end and that’s the part I don’t like.

On Leno’s performance in goal for Arsenal…

That’s true, I told him after the game I was not too happy about that! Both halves were good, but in the second half we shot him warm for the penalty shootout. Really good moments. As a manager I wish that we scored but I want to see that we create. A lot of moments in the game and it’s then about individual quality. We have the quality and we showed the quality, but it just didn’t work out tonight and that’s completely OK. We will try again, I can promise.