Liverpool’s first game as Premier League champions ended in a hammering as Pep Guardiola’s dethroned Manchester City side ran riot at the Etihad.
Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were all on the scoresheet as the hosts romped to a 4-0 win and served up a timely reminder of the level the Reds will have to reach once again if they are to defend their title next season.
Liverpool certainly played like little was riding on the game during the first 45 minutes. City, in contrast, performed like they wanted to send a message to Klopp’s side ahead of their title defence next season, racing into a 3-0 half-time lead.
“What can I say? We beat the champions, an extraordinary team. The game was good. They had clear chances in the first minutes with Salah but after that we mad a good performance and could have scored more goals. We tried to play football and take risks because [Liverpool] are the best team I’ve ever faced in my life with the high pressing … But we had the courage to play.”
He says he’s particularly pleased because it was clear Liverpool did not take this match lightly. “I saw how focused they are. Even in the guard of honour, they were focused. They did not even say thank you.”
“I saw a brilliant attitude. We didn’t behave like somebody who became champions a week ago. But we lacked fluidity, and for some 50/50 situations they were just quicker than us. Then the pitch becomes bigger immediately…. They used their chances and we didn’t. City was 100% the deserved winner, of course, but 5-3 or something would have been possible aswell. We had moments where we could have scored but we didn’t.”
Then the manager shows irritation at the line of questioning, seemingly convinced that Sky’s man is trying to get him to criticise his team’s attitude. The questions were imprecise but not provocative, except in these sense that imprecise questions from journalists are annoying: but Klopp’s irritation has more to do with the tonking his team just got. But he maintains that his team were full of fight. Sure, but they were also very sloppy. “If you want to lead this story in the direction that we were not focused on this game, then do it,” says Klopp.”