Jurgen Klopp has urged his Liverpool players to ‘keep fighting’ as they continue to experience a far from convincing start to the new campaign.
The Reds have just ten points from a possible 24 in the Premier League and appear to be facing an uphill battle to finish in the top four.
The Merseysiders were defeated 3-2 by Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates with a number of contentious refereeing decisions going against Klopp’s men.
The German tactician has been speaking about the standard of officiating at the weekend and looked ahead to tomorrow’s Champions League clash with Rangers at Ibrox.
“We have to keep fighting, it will not happen overnight,” the German said (via Liverpoolfc.com). “When you look at the Arsenal game, I know people don’t want to hear that, but I think on Sky Sports [in] the Ref Watch, when Mr Dermot [Gallagher] twice says the decision was wrong by the best English referee, Michael Oliver.
“One penalty was no penalty because before the season we had a big meeting with the refs and they said no soft penalties anymore… and it was a penalty we got [given against us]. Then we saw this season already which kind of situations we’ve had for handball and there were penalties with exactly the same situation, but not in this game. But Mr Dermot, not to forget, thought yes, this was a penalty.
“The first goal, how I heard now, of Arsenal was pretty likely offside – we just cannot find out because a camera was not there or the angle or whatever. I don’t know exactly the reason, but when I saw the pictures I thought it was obvious that Saka came back from an offside position.
“So, now we talk about this game and, 100 per cent, we conceded silly goals – especially the second one in the first half, but between the first and the second [Arsenal] goals we played against a team in form in the league a really good game. But we are 2-1 down. Second half, we get out, score our second goal and [then an] open game, we were not as good as in the first half, but [it’s] an open game. And then it was a penalty which was not a penalty and from that moment on we had to chase the game, Arsenal could counter-attack and then obviously had better situations, that’s all true, but it is difficult to judge that game, really.
“That we don’t play our absolute best football, I saw that, but again we played away against the team in form in the league, first in the table, a great team, top, really good players, all good, but we lost it in the way we lost it. Now it is difficult to judge. So what did we miss in this specific game? Just the right ref decisions would have been helpful, to be 100 per cent honest, and then we can judge the game new.
“If we had won that game, for the outside world our problems are completely sorted. We know it is not like that. Now we lost the game and three players, that’s obviously the opposite of what should have happened. The only thing we can do is to keep fighting – and that’s what we will do. Everybody who wanted to see it could see it; we fought against Arsenal really hard.
“That is what we will do tomorrow night because we have to do it because Rangers, not only after what Giovanni van Bronckhorst said in the press conference or the interviews, want to put things right and they want to get points in the Champions League group. They tried it with another defensive approach with five at the back and now they want to attack and want to go for it in a great atmosphere.
“I never played here and I am really excited to experience that. It’s a tough game in a different competition, [but] that’s what we have to do.”
Liverpool can put their Premier League troubles to one side in Glasgow tomorrow and will seek to earn another huge three points in Europe’s premier competition.
With Klopp tweaking his tactics in the reverse fixture against Rangers and also at the Emirates on Sunday, it will be interesting to see the team selection that the German opts for tomorrow.
Luis Diaz, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip are all unavailable for the clash with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side in what it is a huge triple blow for last season’s Champions League finalists.
Let’s hope we still have enough quality on the pitch to push us a step closer to the knockout stages and end Rangers’ hopes of qualification.