Van Dijk, Alonso replacing Klopp, and more

Van Dijk, Alonso replacing Klopp, and more

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Liverpool could have no complaints about their defeat at Arsenal, but they will surely have a few regrets. It was a pretty poor performance overall from Jurgen Klopp’s side, but at 1-1 with 25 minutes to go, they were in a position to take away a point or perhaps even all three. But when two of your most reliable performers make a mistake like Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker made, perhaps you know it’s not your day.

Arsenal were the better side on the day; quicker and sharper, better in possession and able to create more, particularly in wide areas. Liverpool, by contrast, looked a yard off the pace without the ball, and struggled to work their attacking players into good positions. One shot on target, and a goal scored by the opposition centre-back, tells its own story.

I think there is enough reason to call it a bad day at the office for the Reds, as opposed to anything more concerning. They know they can – and must – play better going forward, but their upcoming fixtures, starting at home to Burnley this weekend, are kind, and they are starting to get key players back available too. The sight of Thiago Alcantara back on the pitch on Sunday after ten months out was perhaps the biggest positive of the day as far as Klopp is concerned.

There will no doubt be disappointment that his side didn’t make the statement they could have – they could really have kicked Arsenal out of the title race with a win – but two league defeats in 34 games suggests that things are going in the right direction, for sure.

I’ve never been a signed-up member of the celebration police, and I’m not going to start now! It’s become a strange sideshow around modern football, this desire either to celebrate wildly or provocatively, or to criticise those who do. Now we have a third element, those who criticise those who criticise! Exhausting.

As someone who has covered Liverpool for 14 years, and particularly closely during Jurgen Klopp’s reign, I can speak to the importance of enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Some of the biggest celebrations I’ve seen at Liverpool games have been in the middle of a season – Aston Villa and Southampton away in 2019, Everton at home in 2018 – when we didn’t…

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