EPL

Klopp delighted with Liverpool win against 'proper threat' Arsenal

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool's 2-0 win at Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday as "really special" as his team moved to within a point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

A tight contest was decided by second half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino as the Reds won their ninth league game in a row.

Mikel Arteta's team arguably shaded the first half and came close to taking the lead just before Jota's opener but Martin Odegaard's effort with the goal at his mercy was somehow kept out by a diving Alisson.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Klopp was delighted with the three points and praised the way his side ground out the win. 

"It's really special," he said. "Coming here in our situation, and their situation, and not having a brilliant first half and then turning the game in the right direction is pretty special.

"You have to be on your toes because they are a proper threat."

Since the turn of the year, Liverpool have won more points than any other Premier League team (28 – W9 D1 L0), and are the only side yet to suffer a league defeat in 2022. In fact, Liverpool have avoided defeat in their opening 10 league games of a calendar year for the first time since 2015.

The title race is now finely poised with just one point separating City and Liverpool, with nine games to go each and the two set to face each other in April, but Klopp insists all his team can do is continue to win games.

"We have had a good period," he added. "We are one point behind but the only thing we can do is win football games. No game is easy in this incredible league and we have to keep going.

"The only thing I'm really interested in is how we can prepare for the next game, how we can get through this. It's so difficult – I think it's game number 13 since we met Arsenal in the Carabao Cup. For them, it's seven – that's six more games for us. We don't complain about it, we wanted it like this. Let's see how it goes.

"In 10 years, do you think somebody will say you should be proud [of finishing second by one point]? Probably not. We know we have a special group here and we're trying to squeeze everything we can out of the situation."

Andrew Robertson – who registered his 50th assist in 211 games for Liverpool when he set up Firmino's goal – believes City are still in a better position, but insists it will be a "sprint to the finish line."

When asked if Liverpool are the team with momentum, the Scotland captain told Sky Sports: "Yeah, but they've got an extra point than us (laughing).

"Look, they're a point better off. A fantastic team, one of the best in the world and they'll obviously try and have a strong finish. That's us done with the Premier League until after the international break [for] both teams, and then it's a sprint to the finish line."

Robertson has provided 10+ assists in three of his last four seasons in the Premier League, while since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, only team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (43) has provided more assists in the competition than him (40).

"We're in the race," he continued. "A lot of people maybe didn't think we were going to be [in] January but we're definitely in the race and we just need to focus on what we're doing and picking up as many points as possible."

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    Hansi Flick warned his Germany side individual errors will be "deadly" at the World Cup after an entertaining back-and-forth Nations League encounter against England at Wembley.

    The visitors led by two goals after Ilkay Gundogan's penalty and Kai Havertz's expert long-range finish punished the Three Lions.

    However, three goals in the space of 12 minutes from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane had already-relegated England in front with seven minutes to play.

    An error from goalkeeper Nick Pope allowed Havertz to make it 3-3 late on, but head coach Flick acknowledged Germany must be better at protecting a lead in Qatar.

    "The result is very disappointing. I think we were very stable after 2-0 and we made individual mistakes, and you have to say that England brought in two fresh players who then also played a part in making England more effective offensively," Flick said.

    "We made individual mistakes and that's why it's disappointing. 

    "You have to look at the whole game and I think we did many things well, really well. In a phase where we got the three goals, that shouldn't happen to us, because especially at a World Cup, things like that are of course deadly and you're eliminated faster than you think. 

    "Therefore, if you look at it positively, you simply have to say that we know what we can work on. 

    "We'll analyse the game properly again because, of course, at first glance, I've seen the goals conceded, just once or twice now, and that's partly individual, where we sometimes made the mistakes. And everyone has to do their job over 90 minutes and we have to work on that."

    Flick, though, was effusive in his praise of Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala, who was a constant thorn in England's side and drew the foul from Harry Maguire for Germany's opener from the spot.

    "Jamal just showed why he is an exceptional talent. He got us the second goal from in his own half and he's both defensive and offensive, I think he's a player that's good for us," Flick added.

    "And simply by his dribbling ability, he can pull out situations like penalties, but of course also he can move opponents around, one or two players are out of position and then it's a different situation. 

    "Then we have more room, more space and those are the things that are good for us."

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    ROUND-UP

    – According to iNews, Newcastle United are considering a £50m bid for Shaktar Donetsk's rising 21-year-old winger Mykhalo Mudryk

    – Marca is claiming Real Madrid's "main target" at the end of the season will be Borussia Dortmund's prized English midfielder Jude Bellingham.

    – Corriere dello Sport is reporting Chelsea plan to increase their previous offer of £44.5m for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, and would be willing to loan him back to the Italian club for the remainder of the season if they can come to an agreement in January.

    – With Manchester United reportedly ready to move on from goalkeeper David de Gea, Football Insider states they are monitoring Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez as a replacement.

    – RAC1 claims Real Madrid's Marco Asensio has already signed a preliminary contract with rivals Barcelona, with his Madrid contract set to expire at the end of this season.

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    There were mixed feelings from the German camp after Monday's dramatic 3-3 draw against England in the UEFA Nations League, with manager Hansi Flick calling it "a good test".

    Germany led 2-0 after a 52nd minute penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and a goal from Kai Havertz in the 67th, but that advantage was wiped out in just over 15 minutes.

    Luke Shaw struck in the 72nd, Mason Mount equalised three minutes later, and a penalty to Harry Kane put the English up 3-2 in the 83rd.

    Ultimately, an 87th-minute leveller from Havertz saw the two sides share the points, and it gave Flick some mixed emotions.

    "The first half was balanced, in the second we deservedly led 2-0 – then we made individual mistakes," he said. "It must not happen that we give up a lead like that. 

    "But we came back, that's the positive. It was a good test, we take a lot of positive things with us, but also negative things. There's some work for us to do, but we're optimistic, otherwise we could stay at home."

    Midfielder Joshua Kimmich provided a little more insight into exactly what went wrong to allow such a rapid collapse.

    "We had everything under control and deservedly led 2-0 – then we became far too passive," he said. "No longer pushing through consistently, defending far too deep, no longer having the courage to play against the ball… but in terms of body language and engagement, it was an improvement.

    "Everyone now has six weeks to get a good feeling and then we will attack."

    After scoring two goals, Havertz said to only get a draw from a match like that "must of course worry you" but suggested that it "was another good game to learn from".

    Meanwhile, Gundogan was not afraid to talk about Germany's lofty goals, saying they are heading to Qatar with the plan of making the final.

    "It's not unrealistic," he said. "Of course, a lot has to come together. I don't see a team that is miles ahead.

    "We have shown over long periods that we can do it at the highest level. We have to try to do that for 90 minutes. At a World Cup you have much less leeway to make mistakes than today."

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