Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that his side struggled for end product as they drew the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal.
The Reds dominated Thursday’s clash at Anfield and made a blistering start. Indeed, their hard work looked like it would soon pay off when Granit Xhaka received a red card after 25 minutes.
However, Liverpool could not take advantage of the sending off as they huffed and puffed in attack. In fact, they had 17 shots on goal and only one on target.
When they did get a glorious chance right at the end, though, Takumi Minamino blazed his effort over the bar.
Klopp told Sky Sports: “I thought we really started well, I liked it, it was direct, it was how we wanted to start.
“I would’ve preferred to have scored the goal instead of them getting a red card. From that moment it looked like we felt somehow under pressure [to score].
“It was already difficult because we had to change the formation and the line-up and for obvious reasons [before the game]. It’s a good line-up, I like it a lot.
“You said before the game it’s a strong line-up, but in the end if you play such a low block, that’s anyway in football the most difficult thing to do and I’m not surprised we struggled with that.”
The Reds made changes in the second half. Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Neco Williams all came on in a bid to add more verve and cutting edge to the attack.
But Liverpool still lacked the final product and could have done with either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah on the pitch. However, both are on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
“With the changes we made, I thought we looked really better,” Klopp said. “We had clearer situations, Curtis, Neco, proper wingers, high up. That looked better, but in the end not good enough for a better result.
“You have to be creative, you have to be well-tuned. We couldn’t be properly well-tuned because we are used to some movements which we don’t have now and that’s situation.
“We always knew it would come, but it doesn’t mean we cannot solve it.”
Klopp fires Liverpool, Arsenal warning
The result means it is all to play for heading into next Thursday’s second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
Liverpool will have wanted the advantage on the scoreline knowing that Arsenal’s fans will be in full voice in north London.
Nevertheless, Klopp said: “But it’s a two-legged game and it’s half time.
“I can’t remember when it was 0-0 at half time, wherever it was and I thought ‘we have no chance’. We will give it a proper go.”
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