Liverpool could not have known the incredible journey that awaited them when the club hired Jurgen Klopp on this day five years ago.

Brendan Rodgers had recently been sacked with the Reds 10th in the Premier League, a far cry from their title challenge a year and a half earlier.

That bid for Premier League success in 2013-14 was something of an outlier, though. Despite their illustrious history, prior to 2014 Liverpool had only finished in the top two three times since winning their previous league championship in 1990.

Klopp came in with the goal of waking a proverbial sleeping giant, something he had managed to do at Borussia Dortmund, whom he guided to back-to-back Bundesliga titles after seven years outside of Germany's top four.

Liverpool fans' yearning and desire for domestic success was even greater, they will surely tell you, but with the aid of smart recruitment, a hint of patience and fine coaching, Klopp has turned the Reds into a force once again.

On the fifth anniversary of his appointment, we looked at the Opta data behind his success…


While domestic cup success continues to elude Klopp in England, it's fair to say Liverpool fans won't mind given the silverware that has been secured, namely the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

That Premier League triumph last season was Liverpool's first since the competition ceased to be Division One. It ended a wait of 30 years to win the league championship.

A big part of their success last season was an 18-match winning streak, a joint record in English top-flight history, while they also went unbeaten in 44 games from January 2019 to February 2020.

The Reds' 24 consecutive home league wins from February last year to July 2020 is also a record, while they remain unbeaten in 61 games at Anfield, the third longest run in English top-flight history.

Liverpool remarkably collected 99 points last term, which was just one shy of the all-time benchmark set by Manchester City the previous season, when the Reds' 97 set a new high for second place.

Some might even feel Klopp has a case to be considered Liverpool's greatest manager, ahead of Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish. He has the best winning percentage of any Reds boss to have taken charge of at least 50 matches with 60.3 per cent (58.3 per cent for Dalglish, 57.4 per cent for Paisley).

And in terms of the Premier league, only Pep Guardiola (2.33) has averaged more points per game than the German (2.17), who edges out Alex Ferguson (2.16).


One of the key elements to Klopp's Liverpool is that he has built a team in his image – "heavy metal" football, as he memorably dubbed it, reflects the manager's no-nonsense attitude but is also thrilling, full-on and uncompromising.

Of course, essential to that is the players – he has fielded 88 of them across all competitions, with 58 making their debut under him.

The first to be given a debut by Klopp was Connor Randall – now at Ross County – in an EFL Cup the month of his appointment, while the most recent is Diogo Jota.

No player comes close to Roberto Firmino as his most relied upon, however. The Brazilian, for all his critics over the past year, has played 242 games for Klopp, with 211 from the start – this amounts to 18,435 minutes.

Firmino also leads with regards to assists (54), though he's a fair way off Mohamed Salah in the goalscoring stakes, with the former on 78 and the Egyptian one shy of his century.

Nevertheless, that pair together with Sadio Mane (84) have accounted for 46 per cent of all goals scored under Klopp – they have become one of the deadliest attacks in Europe.

Unfortunately for Klopp, the result closest to his anniversary was his worst with the Reds, as they astonishingly lost 7-2 at Aston Villa on Sunday.

It was the first time since 1963 that Liverpool conceded seven goals in a match, but up next after the international break is the Merseyside derby against an Everton side top of the table – what better opportunity to bounce back?

Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool team are committed to having "the best time of our lives" and so knows their hunger remains after winning the Premier League title.

Speaking to reporters ahead of visiting Aston Villa on Sunday, Klopp was asked if he had looked his players in the eye to see if they had the same desire this season as last.

Manchester United great Alex Ferguson explained in 2008 it was a process he went through with his title-winning sides at the start of the following campaign.

Klopp was amused by this suggestion but assured Liverpool - who ended a 30-year wait for the championship in 2019-20 - are determined to continue their success.

They have three wins from three in the league so far this season.

Klopp replied: "That's what [Ferguson] always did? How many times did he win the title? Thirteen times?

"He came always back into pre-season, looked in their eyes and saw the hunger? I wish I had Alex Ferguson's eyes, obviously.

"I didn't check it, but we agreed a bit longer ago to make this the best time of our lives as long as we are together. That's what we are still doing.

"I'm not in doubt about the desire and the hunger of my boys.

"It's a little bit my job as well to keep that going and I've known myself long enough that I know that I can do it differently. That means we are on the safe side, I would say.

"If we don't succeed, it won't be because we don't want it with all we have. There can be other teams that can be better than us - that's football and life like this - but it's not because of hunger or desire or greed or whatever.

"No, we are still in the right mood."

Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be on his way out of Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp confirmed he was left out of the EFL Cup defeat to Arsenal on Thursday because something had happened "in the background".

The Switzerland international was expected to start the clash with Arsenal at Anfield after impressing in last week's third-round clash with Lincoln City, in which he scored a stunning free-kick. 

Harry Wilson was selected in his place, however, with Klopp saying after the game - which the Gunners won 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time - he had no option but to leave the former Stoke City man out of the squad. 

When asked about Shaqiri's absence, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Some were not involved. It is the time of the year when some things happen in the background and you have to react. That is what we did."

Liverpool were much changed from their 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Premier League three days earlier and, despite the defeat, Klopp saw plenty in the performance to be excited about.

"If there would have been a winner in 90 minutes it should have been us but we are not in dreamland," he said. "You have to score.

"I liked a lot of parts of the game. We mixed it up a lot and I saw a proper performance. A penalty shoot-out is tricky, everyone knows that.

"I really liked how the boys did it. There were a lot of good individual performances.

"It could have been a Premier League game but here or there we lacked the last pass. There were not a lot of chances in this game because there was a lot of work from both teams closing each other down."

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is grateful to have played under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, describing the German coach as "someone you do not forget".

Immobile was brought to Dortmund by Klopp in 2014 as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski but scored just 10 goals in 34 games before heading to Sevilla the following year.

He again struggled in front of goal at Sevilla but has since revived his career at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring a combined 103 goals in the last four Serie A campaigns.

However, the Italy international is disappointed things did not work out for him across his one season playing under now-Liverpool boss Klopp at Dortmund.

"Klopp leaves something behind for you. You don't forget someone like him," he told Sport Bild. 

"I was lucky to be able to play under him. He's a super emotional trainer. Someone for whom you fight for every ball.

"He demands that of you too, and you can see that in his behaviour on the sidelines."

Asked why he struggled to make an impact with BVB in 2014-15, Immobile said: "I think that I just moved to Dortmund at an inconvenient time as far as the team was concerned. 

"With Klopp, BVB became champions in 2011 and 2012 and then came second twice. After the first half of my season there, we were second from last in the Bundesliga.

"That meant young, foreign players being left out. I don't think Klopp didn't see any quality in me, but in this difficult phase he put more trust in players he already knew and could rely on."

Immobile won the European Golden Shoe last season after scoring 36 Serie A goals for Lazio, two more than Bayern Munich star Lewandowski in the German top flight.

The 30-year-old is honoured to have finished ahead of such esteemed company and labelled closest challenger Lewandowski as the best player in the world.

"If I could vote at the Ballon d'Or, I would give him my vote," he said.

"What makes me particularly proud is that I won the Golden Shoe with two more goals than him. For me he was always a role model.

"When it comes to the best number nine in the world, the names Lewandowski, [Luis] Suarez or [Karim] Benzema always come up. 

"To be mentioned in the same breath as them and to have scored more than these strikers is incredible for me."

After an impressive close season in the transfer market aiming to bridge the gap to the top of the Premier League, Chelsea got an uneasy look at how that chasm appears on the field as Liverpool eased to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Even before Andreas Christensen's game-changing red card for a professional foul on Sadio Mane during first-half stoppage time, Jurgen Klopp's champions had dictated matters.

That state of affairs only became more skewed after half-time as Thiago Alcantara announced his Premier League arrival with a passing clinic against depleted opponents.

Mane gave his own lesson in clinical opportunism with both goals, even if Kepa Arrizabalaga's problems were almost as influential - on both Chelsea's demise and, in all likelihood, his immediate future.

Frank Lampard claimed afterwards that the 90 minutes were not without plus points for the Blues, with another lively Timo Werner showing giving a tantalising indication of how much the Germany forward might enjoy England's top flight.


Losing skipper Jordan Henderson at the interval might have compromised Liverpool's strong position in the match, but former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago demonstrated the extra dimension he can lend to Klopp's winning machine, albeit in a match where the pattern was already established by Chelsea's numerical disadvantage.

Thiago completed 75 passes of 83 attempted (90.4 per cent), more than any Chelsea player over the course of the contest. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic - the closest thing to Thiago equivalents in Lampard's line-up - were both substituted in the 79th minute having completed 43 and 58 passes respectively.

Since Opta began collecting full passing data in 2003-04, the Spain international's 75 passes are the most made by a player to have played a maximum of 45 minutes.

Thiago's impact helped Liverpool to improve their 53.5 per cent share of first-half possession to 68 per cent in the second period. The visitors outstripped their 301 first-half passes with 458 after the break.


Despite the free-scoring nature of the season, Opta's metric tracking errors leading directly to goals has only recorded three overall. Kepa is now responsible for two of those.

As Edouard Mendy seemingly closes in on a move to Stamford Bridge from Rennes, the Spain goalkeeper's race appears to be run.

At the other end of their home pitch, Chelsea's hierarchy were able to look ruefully at how things might have panned out. Alisson was understood to be a target to replace Thibaut Courtois before Liverpool got their man.

The Brazil number one made three saves, including an exceptional stop from Jorginho's 75th-minute penalty.

It was the first time Jorginho failed from the spot in nine attempts for Chelsea, excluding shoot-outs, and Alisson's first such stop from three faced since signing from Roma in 2018. In this age of the VAR keeping an eagle eye on keepers straying from their goal line, it was no mean feat.


As was the case when Jorginho converted his spot-kick against Brighton and Hove Albion, Werner drew a foul in the area to land the opportunity. The former RB Leipzig star is the first player to win a penalty in each of his first two Premier League appearances since Stamford Bridge favourite Eden Hazard back in 2012.

An early dart inside from the left channel suggested Werner might get plenty of joy out of makeshift centre-back Fabinho. However, the Brazilian's four tackles, four interceptions and 12 instances of gaining possession were the best of those numbers returned by any Liverpool player.

Werner's pace and directness is a huge part of his appeal and he has been quick to bring those attributes to Chelsea. His 20 sprints were more than any other player on Lampard's side, with his top speed of 32.27 kilometres per hour quicker than any of his team-mates.

If the £47.5million acquisition can hit the heights that have become customary for Mane, Lampard will be a very happy man indeed.

The Senegal star has scored in each of his past three Premier League away games for Liverpool and his match-winning brace was the 13th time he has converted more than once in a top-flight fixture.

Jurgen Klopp acknowledges Thiago Alcantara will need time to adapt to Liverpool's system but felt the 2-0 win over Chelsea was the "perfect" opportunity for a debut.

Thiago signed from Bayern Munich this week in an initial £20million transfer and was named on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

When captain Jordan Henderson had to be replaced at half-time, the Spain midfielder was introduced for his Premier League bow and played his part as Sadio Mane scored twice against Chelsea's 10 men.

Thiago completed 75 passes, more than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match and more than any Premier League player when on the pitch for only 45 minutes since Opta passing data began in 2003-04.

On the other hand, he conceded a penalty for a foul on Timo Werner, but Alisson saved Jorginho's spot-kick and Klopp was pleased overall with the performance of his new man.

"It was top timing," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He trained. He had eight days off or whatever. He played with Spain, he trained with Munich, he's fit, so that's not a problem.

"But of course, he's not used to our things. We play a different system, but that's how it is, that's how football is. You need to get used to your mates next to you.

"But then when they have one man down, it's pretty much the perfect game. And with Hendo feeling a little bit, we had to react and we decided to bring him on.

"I liked it, I liked his game a lot. Defensively was tricky for him because we set it up differently, but offensively, with the ball, yeah, that's him. He wants to pass the ball."

Thiago played at the base of the midfield, where Fabinho would usually be stationed.

The Brazilian was shifted into the centre of defence due to injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and Klopp was delighted with the way he dealt with Werner.

"Timo is a top player. With space, there is no real football tactic that can defend him when he has the ball," Klopp said.

"But Fabinho obviously is a pretty good challenger, really good in one-on-one situations. He did outstandingly well.

"He can play the position and obviously today enjoyed it a lot, so it was good, a really good performance. If Sadio doesn't score two goals, I think a man of the match contender would have been Fabinho."

Thiago was followed into Anfield by Diogo Jota, signed from Wolves, and Klopp was asked to reflect on a positive week for the champions.

"We've had a lot of good weeks in the past, to be honest, but this was a good one as well," he replied.

Jurgen Klopp hinted Thiago Alcantara is close to joining Liverpool from Bayern Munich and insisted the midfielder's arrival will not have an impact on Georginio Wijnaldum's future.

Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on Thursday that Thiago will leave the club after seven trophy-laden seasons in Bavaria to join English champions Liverpool.

The Spain international bid an emotional farewell to Bayern on Friday ahead of finalising terms on a four-year contract at Anfield.

Reds boss Klopp, while unwilling to discuss Thiago's qualities until the move is official, told Liverpool fans to monitor social media channels with a transfer believed to be imminent.

"There's nothing really to say because it's not official until it's announced," he said. "I don't really know what I can say. It looks quite promising. My hands are tied. 

"Probably for all Liverpool supporters it's useful to look at LFC channels today and we'll see when whatever happens.

"I think most of the things I will say, if it happens are obvious. It's tricky now for me, nothing is announced. That's all I can say.

"I can answer after something is announced. We cannot now talk about these things in a hypothetical way. We just have to wait a little bit."

Stats Perform News understands the deal for Thiago could eventually be worth £25million (€27.5m), with Liverpool due to pay a guaranteed £20m for the 29-year-old.

The Spaniard's arrival is sure to increase speculation Wijnaldum will end his Anfield stay, with Barcelona tipped to make a move, but Klopp stressed that is not necessarily the case.

"If [the Thiago deal] happens, there's no impact on anybody else's future in a negative way," he said.

Liverpool have been linked with a number of players since lifting the Premier League last season but have so far brought in just back-up left-back Kostas Tsimikas.

With less than three weeks of the window to go, Klopp suggested the English champions could further strengthen their squad if the right opportunity presents itself.

"It's about timing," he said. "Sometimes you buy before you sell, there are different scenarios. 

"The only thing that is always true for us is what we earn with football, we spend on football. 

"That's a short summary of the philosophy but it's one of the key points. We work constantly on improvement. That's a fact.

"The window is open until October 5. I cannot promise we will do something and I wouldn't but I cannot say it's 100-per-cent cent sure that we wouldn't."

Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah as a "very special" player after the Liverpool star scored a hat-trick in a thrilling victory over Leeds United.

Marcelo Bielsa's newly promoted side pushed defending Premier League champions Liverpool all the way at Anfield on Saturday, but Salah had the final say when he converted his second penalty of the game to seal a 4-3 win.

Salah had opened the scoring from the spot early on after Robin Koch's handball, though Jack Harrison switfly equalised.

A frantic start continued as Virgil van Dijk swung the game back in Liverpool's favour, only to then gift Patrick Bamford an equaliser prior to a stunning strike from Salah restoring the Reds' lead, which was then cancelled out once more by Mateusz Klich.

It was Salah who settled matters from 12 yards with two minutes remaining and Klopp believes the Egypt forward's all-round display showed the true quality of Liverpool's talisman.

"First and foremost congratulations to him because he's a very special player very, very special player," said the Reds boss.

"The numbers tell the story a little bit, all the rest you probably don't know. But today's a very good example as he put three more goals on his score list, but the performance all-round was absolutely exceptional in a game like this.

"So he deserved the goals, 100 per cent, yes two were penalties, one was a sensational finish, but he deserved these goals because he was constantly present, causing the opponent massive problems.

"He was top in one-on-one situations, played football. With all the good performances he's had for us, obviously this was for sure one of the better ones and so he should be proud of that because it's very special to have these kinds of numbers. Long may it continue."

While Salah spearheaded Liverpool's fearsome attack, the Reds looked unusually ordinary at the back, with Van Dijk in particular struggling to find his rhythm.

Klopp, however, is not concerned, and suggested the fact all of his starting defenders had been away on international duty could have impacted their performance.

"I didn't really see us struggling defensively, it's just the way they play you cannot defend it 100 per cent all the time," Klopp said.

"The first goal both full-backs were deeper than the centre-halves, that should never have happened. The second goal I think was a misunderstanding between Virgil and Alisson, it was one of the things that can happen. It should not, but it can happen. I don't think we will see these situations very often.

"So that's defending, but it's not an excuse, it was just an explanation. And maybe I don't have to give explanations, but the last line played for England, Holland, and Scotland, four days ago or whatever.

"So, all top teams but different ways of defending and it can happen and if the things are not really settled, which we are in the early stages of the season.

"I know people say they played 500 games together, but defending is not like riding a bike. You have to work on it constantly. So space for improvement, all good."

Jurgen Klopp vowed Liverpool will not "throw money away" as he hit back at the Premier League champions' transfer critics.

Liverpool finished 18 points clear at the top of the table last season but have been accused by some observers of sitting back after making just one signing so far this window.

Kostas Tsimikas was brought in from Olympiakos for a reported £11.75million in August to provide competition for regular left-back Andy Robertson.

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara continues to be linked with a move to Anfield, but the Reds are reportedly unwilling to match his €30million (£27.66m) valuation.

However, Klopp insisted he fully understands the lack of incomings ahead of the new campaign.

"Since I've been here, there has not been one transfer window where I've thought, 'If we don't get this player, we cannot start the season'. Not once," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"We are in a luxury situation that if we can bring somebody in, it will be a really good player, and if we don't, we have really good players.

"It's a little bit of theatre, this transfer business. In all the years I'm here it's always the same. That isn't to say we always did things right, we did things as good as we could do.

"It depends on different things - one is finding the player, one is having the money, and all of these kind of things.

"But I read this morning that somebody who saw my body language saw 'anxiety or anger' or things like this. Interesting! That starts really early, judging my body language!

"I expect that for the season, when we lose a game, when everybody will look if I'm still the funny guy I used to be in some press conferences when we won a game."

He added: "This club, since I am here, and before, spends what we earn. That was always the case. I don't know why this is so surprising now, it's nothing new.

"Pretty much everything we earn, we spend, if we have to in the moment. If not, we don't, because it makes no sense to throw money away.

"When I speak about the difficulty of the times we live in at the moment, people might think, 'Really? In football as well?'. Yes! Surprisingly enough, in football as well.

"Uncertainty means uncertainty for all of us. It must fit to the group. Influence from outside, which a transfer is, can help, 100 per cent. 

"If we can find the right player, it will probably happen, if not, then it won't."

Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for top-flight silverware in unique circumstances, playing their final nine games of last season behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Klopp is expecting the 2020-21 campaign to be even tougher for his side as they cope with the demands of playing in four competitions in a condensed period.

"It's a big one for all of us. I think it will be tough, tougher, the toughest probably," he said.

"In terms of being champions? Being Liverpool is always a challenge, wherever you go, they want to win anyway.

"Our challenge again will be to show again the greed, the desire, the mentality which we showed in the last years, to be successful again, as successful as possible."

Liverpool begin their Premier League title defence at home to promoted Leeds United on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp said Rhian Brewster should bear no blame for the Community Shield defeat after missing in the penalty shoot-out, with the Liverpool manager instead taking responsibility for it himself.

Arsenal lifted the trophy after succeeding in the spot-kick contest, which came as a consequence of the two teams drawing 1-1, and Brewster's miss proved decisive.

The young striker stepped up for Liverpool's third penalty but saw his effort hit the crossbar, with Cedric Soares, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang subsequently converting theirs to secure the win for the Gunners.

But Klopp did not want any blame to be felt by Brewster, adamant it was on him for bringing the forward on with penalties in mind in the first place.

"We constantly have to learn and prove then again we can deal with defeats," Klopp told reporters in a news conference. "We lost the competition today as a team and Rhian is a part of that.

"If he would have scored the penalty and somebody else would have missed, it would have been the same feeling pretty much. I get that it's different when you are the one; I was in the situation myself as a player, obviously that's not nice.

"But there are bigger catastrophes than that, it's just part of the deal. I think with his technique – his shooting and finishing technique – I don't think ever in his life there will be a goalie in touch with the ball around a penalty, but missing it like this is possible because he takes full risk.

"I didn't see him ever missing a penalty since we worked together. Today it happened; that can happen, that's how it is. Dealing with defeats is in football a very important lesson always. We are all not perfect in it.

"But this will not harm him because we will not let it happen. And if somebody is to blame for that it's me because I made that decision. It was obvious we do it for the penalties, we took Gini Wijnaldum off and we did it for the penalty shoot-out.

"I wanted him in the position because I know he is a naturally confident boy, he's a real finisher, his penalties are really good usually. Today not – that happens in football and in life, no problem."

When asked if he planned to share any advice with Brewster, having gone through similar in his playing days, Klopp added: "I rarely join or share my football experiences with the boys because it was too long ago, but I'm not the only one who missed a penalty in my life in the team, so the boys pick him up.

"It's not about me making it bigger than it is. He missed a penalty, we had a few words directly when he left the pitch, that's all fine. Nothing to apologise for or whatever. That's football, no problem.

"If we wanted to win the game then we should have scored during the 92 minutes, we didn't do that often enough and that's why it came to a penalty shoot-out. It's a lottery, we know that.

"It's not about who is the best, it's just you have to score and we did that four times really well. And this penalty was not the worst I ever saw, it was just a little bit too high. There was absolutely no chance for the goalie, it was just too high. That's why it happened, how it happened."

The main thing to remember after the full-time whistle sounds at the end of the Community Shield is that no one knows anything.

As a form guide, English football's traditional season curtain-raiser is often completely lousy – just in case there was any danger of unbridled optimism at Arsenal following their 1-1 draw against Liverpool and subsequent penalty shoot-out triumph.

Who could forget Manchester United sweeping aside Wigan Athletic in 2013 to promise prolonged glory under continuity candidate David Moyes?

Or even last season's meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City, a knife-edge tussle concluding in a penalty shoot-out that indicated there was nothing between the top two teams in the country.

Liverpool were back at Wembley on Sunday, having won their first top-flight title in 30 years thanks to amassing 18 more points than City, whose FA Cup semi-final conquerors were in the other dressing room. Mikel Arteta continues to build quite the list of big-game scalps.

The clues thrown up by this occasion are hard to deduce in normal circumstances, but seeing Arsenal and Liverpool wearing their new kits after a truncated close season, six days on from the Champions League final and two weeks before the new Premier League season blurs into the old, amounted to one of the more disorientating COVID-era sporting events in a crowded field.


Arsenal's opening goal was beautifully crafted. Arteta's men drew the most ravenous press in world football, only to find it operating with capped teeth. The Gunners moved their way up the field with a series of slick interchanges before Bukayo Saka picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a wonderful sweeping pass.

Aubameyang, still at Arsenal and still the subject of a mooted new contract (honestly, you'd think the FA Cup final was only five minutes ago), gave teenage Liverpool full-back Neco Williams an early-season lesson. Show this formidable forward inside and back away and see what happens.

The Gabon international, who came to prominence under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, sent a sumptuous shot across Alisson for his fifth goal at Wembley in the past month and a half, having netted braces to down City and Chelsea on the way to FA Cup glory.

For all the promise in other areas of Arteta's team, Aubameyang is the only 24-carat, bankable world-class performer. That is not to say the promise is not considerable, certainly in the case of Saka.

Allied with his obvious technical proficiency, the 18-year-old Saka's cool-headed decision-making should be the envy of more senior operators. Arteta's willingness to use Saka in a variety of positions and his 13 assists in all competitions since the start of last season – only Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold have more among Premier League players – stand as testament to that.

Saka roved with calm intent in the spaces left by a sleepy Liverpool midfield, with Fabinho and his engine room colleagues seemingly keen to see just how good Virgil van Dijk is when given scant protection.


The champions got themselves on the front foot after the break and Klopp will be buoyed by Takumi Minamino's prominent role from the bench.

Picking out flaws in one of the most dominant title-winning teams in English history seems a little churlish, but it is Klopp's job to do just that. The reported pursuit of Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara suggests he wants a little more finesse within the sinews of his mentality monsters.

Minamino should certainly help to that end and, following 14 fitful and forgettable appearances last term, he was at the centre of most of Liverpool's best work after coming on with an hour played – scampering and scheming as the fabled front three failed to fire. A well-taken equaliser was his reward.

That meant a confident set of penalties that said much about how much jeopardy was realistically present, even if Rhian Brewster's Fred Flintstone run-up to send the ball all the way to Bedrock via the crossbar was an ambitious move too far.

Aubameyang sealed the shield. Of course, it had to be him. Arteta will know there is still much to do, but every step of that journey will be easier if his star striker sticks around.

As for Liverpool, they conceded in the 12th minute, drew 1-1 and lost on penalties in this showpiece last season. Is a repeat of what followed on the cards? Remember, no one knows anything.

Jurgen Klopp was left feeling "sad" because he felt Liverpool's attacking players did not offer enough in their penalty shoot-out defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield.

Premier League champions Liverpool finished seven places and 43 points ahead of the Gunners last term, but Arsenal ultimately lifted the trophy.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal an early lead with a fine strike but Liverpool, who attempted to dictate proceedings, levelled 17 minutes from time through Takumi Minamino.

The game went to penalties and Aubameyang netted the decisive kick after Rhian Brewster failed to convert.

Liverpool were made to rue wastefulness in front of goal and perhaps a lack of sharpness in attack, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all unusually subdued, and their issues in the final third did not go down well with Klopp.

He told BT Sport: "Today I was sad. When you play against a formation like this – which happened to us pretty much always, not only when we are 1-0 down, even when it's 0-0 a lot of teams play like this – then you need to be in the final third really fresh.

"You want to force it sometimes, create angles, create crosses, passing in behind, all this kind of stuff. The rhythm for that fell a little bit. 

"We couldn't create exactly the chance we wanted but we had two of them and the third one that we scored with. Against a team with the quality of Arsenal, on some days it must be enough.

"When you finish it off, it is enough. When you don't finish it off it's not enough and today it was not enough."

Klopp was adamant Arsenal hardly threatened after taking the lead, adding: "I think they had exactly two shots at goal and one situation that was similar.

"After a long diagonal ball, we left Neco [Williams] alone and Auba could come inside to finish it off. The the other moment Ali [Alisson] made a save. That was it, pretty much," he said.

"Apart from that we had to play against a low block with an incredible counter-attacking threat. In these games you need then the final touch.

"In the end we created enough moments but we should have created more. We had the ball a lot but had to play around.

"We had a few good moments, Sadio had chances, we deserved the equaliser for sure and then could have scored more.

"We didn't do that and have to take it. A penalty shoot-out can always be a bit of a lottery. We were unlucky there and congratulations to Arsenal. We respect the competition."

Liverpool begin their Premier League title defence at home to promoted Leeds United on September 12.

Emiliano Martinez and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have both been selected to start for Arsenal in the Community Shield clash with Liverpool, who are without Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Goalkeeper Martinez impressed at the end of 2019-20 while filling in for the injured Bernd Leno, but has reportedly asked for a move away from Arsenal in order to secure first-team football.

Aston Villa are among the teams to have been linked with a move for the Argentinian, though despite the speculation over his future – and Leno's return to fitness – Mikel Arteta picked Martinez to start in Saturday's encounter with the Premier League champions.

Maitland-Niles is another Gunners player potentially on the move, with Wolves and Newcastle United apparently interested in the versatile midfielder, though he too was chosen to start on his 23rd birthday.

Rob Holding – who is reportedly set to join Newcastle on loan for the season – was picked alongside David Luiz in defence, while Mohamed Elneny was something of a surprise inclusion for the FA Cup winners, who are captained by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

New signing William Saliba was named on the bench.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, picked full-back Neco Williams in his starting XI, with Alexander-Arnold having failed to recover from a minor injury.

Virgil van Dijk lines up despite sustaining a knock to the head in pre-season, while Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are all playing from the off for Liverpool.

Rhian Brewster, who scored twice from the bench as Liverpool came from behind to draw 2-2 with Salzburg in a friendly last time out, is among the substitutes, as is recent arrival Kostas Tsimikas.

Jurgen Klopp joked Liverpool fans feel he is never busy enough in the transfer market as the Reds wait to make a major breakthrough.

Liverpool signed back-up left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas earlier this month but are yet to make a further move, despite repeated links to Bayern Munich's Champions League winner Thiago Alcantara.

However, the Reds' only senior signings at the start of last season, in which they won the Premier League title, were goalkeepers Adrian and Andy Lonergan.

Despite repeated calls from Anfield supporters to bring in an array of new names, Klopp - who has ruled out a sensational bid for Lionel Messi - feels his record is justified.

"We cannot just bring in five new players because people want to be busy with that," he told reporters.

"Every year it has been pretty much the same, I don't think any year I bought enough players in the transfer window for everybody.

"It was always, 'ah, Jurgen we need another one'. So far, it has worked out. That doesn't mean it will work out forever.

"We made mistakes and we will make mistakes, but it's really all about what kind of mood we can create again for this season.

"That's all about creating a unit that is absolutely difficult to beat, being a proper team who can be ready for suffer for each other, and not about who you can buy in a very strange moment of all our lives."

Indeed, Klopp says he is not able to make bold demands to the Liverpool board but is happy with the set-up on Merseyside.

He added: "We never had that relationship where I go to Michael [Edwards, sporting director] and tell him the money I need and without which we cannot survive or whatever.

"I'm clear enough about the situation, but that's it pretty much. There are other clubs that have different policies obviously and that's what you have to accept.

"Last year and the year before, it was pretty much the same. It didn't harm us really, it's just our way. I cannot change it and I don't want to.

"I knew about that when I arrived here, that this is the way it goes, and nothing changed. Only times change and especially now. As a sensible person, I know that this is not the best time in our lives obviously.

"But we are in a good place and we have a good team and we talk about motivation, so that is of course my job to do and the boys' job and the supporters', even when they are not in the stadium. We can create a feeling together."

Jurgen Klopp refused to be drawn over Georginio Wijnaldum's future at Liverpool, insisting the situation was "all good" amid speculation the midfielder is a transfer target for Barcelona.

Wijnaldum has become a key member of Klopp's squad in recent seasons, making 37 Premier League appearances last term as Liverpool ended their 30-year title wait.

The Netherlands international was also influential during the Reds' Champions League success in 2019, though has now entered the final year of his contract at Anfield.

Media reports have linked the player with Barca, where his former national team boss Ronald Koeman is in charge, but Klopp was unwilling to discuss the matter in great detail on Friday.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Community Shield against Arsenal, the Liverpool boss said: "That's an open contract situation, otherwise we would know.

"It's all between us and the player, these kind of things. It's all good at the moment, all fine. Gini played very well in pre-season and has obviously had a couple of good seasons for us. 

"That's all I can say about that."

The reigning champions may have lined up reinforcements in midfield, however, if rumours of a move for Thiago Alcantara are to be believed.

The Spaniard helped Bayern Munich achieve the treble but has made clear his desire to move on for a new challenge, though the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic could restrict the amount of business Liverpool do during this transfer window.

"I don't know, I don't know what will happen. There's a long time to go until October 6 [when the window closes]," Klopp replied when asked about potential new signings in general.

"I think the philosophy of this club is pretty clear. We will see how much we can, or how much we want to spend, all these kind of things."

The emergence of Rhian Brewster, who scored twice in the pre-season friendly against Salzburg this week, could negate the need to add further firepower up front.

Alternatively, the 20-year-old forward could be sent out on loan again, as was the case in the previous season when he had a temporary spell in the Championship with Swansea City.

"We have to see what will happen in the next few weeks or so. We want to use Rhian but want to help him as well, that's why we have to make decisions," Klopp said about Brewster.

"He looks really promising. He can obviously score goals, that's good. All the rest? We will see. He's still a young boy, especially with his position, a number nine up front. We have to see where we can give him experience, here or somewhere else.  

"We haven't decided yet - and why should we? There's absolutely no reason to rush anything. He's our boy and he's here."

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