Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool star found role difficult in Arsenal win | Football

Cody Gakpo dropped into midfield in Liverpool’s win at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his Liverpool team after their 2-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, but admitted Cody Gakpo found it difficult in his midfield role.

The Reds rode their luck a bit, with Arsenal having plenty of chances and spurning them all, before Jakub Kiwior scored an 80th minute own goal and Luis Diaz netted a late second.

Liverpool were without the likes of Virgil van Dijk (illness), Andy Robertson and Dominik Szoboszlai (injury), Mo Salah and Wataru Endo (international duty), bringing in the likes of Jarell Quansah into defence, while drafting Gakpo into midfield.

Klopp was very impressed with most of his players, admitted Gakpo wasn’t at his best in that position, while he also thought his front three weren’t at their most effective in the first half before improving after the break.

Asked about the performance of centre-backs Quansah and Ibrahima Konate, Klopp said: ‘Top, top. Oh my God, the horrible moment was [when] Ibou was twice down and then Jarell goes down and jarred his back, twisted a little bit.

‘Actually, I thought that’s it and then it would have been really tricky early in the game.

‘It was really good [from Konate and Quansah] and Joey [Gomez] again good and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] exceptional. Then you have Ali [Alisson Becker] for moments, so that’s helpful as well.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Klopp was delighted with the win considering the players he had missing (Picture: Getty Images)

‘In front of that, Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] was really there and Curtis [Jones] wanted [the ball].

‘For Cody [Gakpo] it was a bit more difficult, we put him again in that position, and then the front three I would say the timing was really not great for the pressing situations, that’s why they [Arsenal] could then pass too often.

‘It was difficult, we try to prepare for everything [but] did I prepare for a double 10 and high winger? No, so more my fault than the boys’ fault. We had half-time to see it, to watch it, to learn from it and in the second half the set-up was much better.’

On the tactical tweaks at half-time, Trent Alexander Arnold explained: ‘I think there were times in the first half where we were a little bit naïve, where we’ve got caught playing out from the back and they’ve had their chances from our mistakes and maybe a sloppy pass here and there. They’re a high-pressing team and they’re bound to do that.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Trent Alexander-Arnold felt it was a ‘huge’ win for Liverpool at The Emirates (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We stuck with the way that we wanted to play, we have an identity, we want to play football and use players’ strengths with the front line that we had, obviously Harvey [Elliott], [we] wanted to get him on the ball. And then we’ve got Darwin [Nunez] and Lucho as well with speed, so we’re playing the balls in behind and giving them what they wanted as well.

‘We mixed it up, Darwin went a little bit wider and Cody [Gakpo] went in the centre – I think that really made a difference. We were able to use Darwin’s speed one-on-one with their full-back and he created a lot for us in the second half.’


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