LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hit back at pundit and former Manchester United captain Roy Keane after the Irishman said the Premier League champions’ defending in a 3-1 home win over Arsenal on Monday was “sloppy”.
The Reds have won all three of their league games so far this season, beating Leeds 4-3 and winning 2-0 at Chelsea, but while praising Klopp’s side Keane said they had shown the ability to win while not being perfect in defending.
“Strangely enough if you look at Liverpool, they have been sloppy against Leeds, OK done well against Chelsea, sloppy again tonight, but they have got nine points, maximum points, so they will know they need to improve,” noted Keane.
“It looks like they are capable of winning football matches without being at their best.”
Klopp pounced on those comments.
“Did I hear it right, that Mr Keane said it was a sloppy performance tonight?” asked the German as he began a post-match interview with Sky Sports. “I could hear you already, did he say that?”
After Keane attempted to explain his remarks, Klopp continued.
“I just wanted to hear it. I’m not sure I heard it right, maybe he was speaking about another game… it cannot be this game, sorry!
“That is an incredible description of this game. Nothing was sloppy, absolutely nothing. Alisson had to make one save, they had two balls in behind, you cannot avoid that. You need a goalie in these situations. Apart from that, the football we played was absolutely exceptional tonight. There is nothing bad to say. It was the opposite of sloppy.”
Arsenal had taken the lead through Alexandre Lacazette after poor control from Andy Robertson in his own area and the French striker could have equalised in the second half when he was one-on-one against goalkeeper Alisson.
But Klopp insisted he has been blown away by the standards his team have set at the start of their title defence.
Sloppy again tonight, but they have got nine points, maximum points, so they will know they need to improve. It looks like they are capable of winning football matches without being at their best.
ROY KEANE, former Manchester United midfielder, after Liverpool conceded for a fourth time in the league this season.
The football we played was absolutely exceptional tonight. There is nothing bad to say. It was the opposite of sloppy.
JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, disagreeing with pundit Keane on the quality of his team’s performance. The champions limited in-form Arsenal to four shots.
Goals from Sadio Mane, Robertson and new signing Diogo Jota saw off the Gunners, who had won their opening two league games of the season.
While Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and now Arsenal have all lost in the first three weeks of the new term, Liverpool have laid down an early marker that they are the team to beat.
“It’s really early in the season and with this performance it is absolutely ‘wow’,” said Klopp.
“From the first second, (we were) dominant against a team in form.”
Arsenal followed the game plan that had brought them two victories over Liverpool in recent months, as they dropped deep then looked to play around the Reds’ press when in possession.
However, unlike when they met at the back end of last season when Klopp’s men had already won the league or the Community Shield last month, Liverpool were far sharper in pulling the Gunners out of position.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that his team have lots of work to do to reach the Reds’ standards.
“We are in a different journey to Liverpool. They’ve been together for five years,” he said.
“They have a lot of good work, a lot of belief in the way they play… This is what we have to try to do. We’re still a long way from getting there.”
Liverpool host Arsenal again tomorrow in the League Cup fourth round.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS