Klopp cannot explain Alisson’s howlers for Liverpool in Manchester City loss
Jürgen Klopp said he had no explanation for the two howlers from Alisson that “killed the game” against Manchester City and probably Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title, other than to suggest cold feet contributed to the goalkeeper’s Anfield nightmare.
Liverpool’s usually commanding keeper gifted Pep Guardiola’s side two goals in three minutes when, with the game balanced at 1-1, two dreadful clearances straight to City players were converted by Ilkay Gündogan and Raheem Sterling. Phil Foden, outstanding when switched to the right of a 4-4-2 in the second half, struck a superb fourth to seal a victory that takes the leaders 10 points clear of the champions having played one game fewer. It was City’s first win at Anfield since 2003 and the first time Liverpool have suffered three consecutive home league defeats since 1963.
Klopp said of Alisson: “I spoke to him a few seconds ago and he’s obviously very disappointed. He was like: ‘Not today, not today.’ I said to him that’s the problem with mistakes, you cannot decide when you make them. The only thing you can do is learn from them and he will. He will make sure it never happens to him again. Tonight it was decisive, but that’s OK. He saved our lives I don’t know how often. He’s an absolutely world-class goalie. Tonight some things went a little bit wrong and we have to take that.”
The Liverpool manager was at a loss to comprehend the Brazil international’s errors, although in an interview with Sky said: “There is not a real explanation. Maybe he had cold feet? It sounds funny but it could be.”
Klopp later added: “I said to him: ‘We have stands, you can shoot the ball there.’ It’s a mistake, but different things came together. In the first half Ali played exceptional football and was really calm on the ball, passed it in small spaces, exactly what we wanted him to do. Then in the beginning of the second half he didn’t do that. He didn’t see the offers because we didn’t make them in the right way, and then the problem is that he doesn’t shoot the ball somewhere far away from the danger spots. I can’t help him through tonight but tomorrow he will be OK and we will go again.”
Guardiola insisted his first win at Anfield with City would not have a decisive influence on the title, despite his leaders recording a 14th successive win in all competitions and opening a five-point lead with a game in hand on Manchester United. “I’m not a guy who can predict the future but in February five points is nothing,” he said. “We celebrate this win tonight and tomorrow we keep our feet on the grass and prepare for Swansea. I know how difficult that will be and then it is Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal. So many tough games in the next weeks. We need to be calm and keep going.”
The City manager, however, was effusive in his praise of his players’ mentality, particularly their reaction to Gündogan’s first-half penalty miss, and the contribution of Foden.
“In the first half we struggled to find him a lot because he was not in the position he should be,” he said. “When playing in the middle he sometimes has difficulty understanding where he needs to be and where he needs to move, but right now he is moving perfectly on the sides as a winger. The second and fourth goal were outstanding, phenomenal. We cannot forget he is only 20 years old and has an incredible margin to improve. He is always focused and has the feeling he can always do something when he is close to the box. We are lucky. For Manchester City fans to have a player who loves Manchester City, who grew up in our academy, was a ballboy for us, supported us, and has become a top, top football player is a joy.”