Jurgen Klopp has claimed he was glad Liverpool’s two goals came from set-pieces in their win over Rangers as it meant VAR couldn’t stop him celebrating them. The Reds claimed a 2-0 win in the Battle of Britain clash with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah scoring the goals, but the German could not resist making a dig at VAR despite the win.
Liverpool have experienced a poor start to the season so far, picking up just ten points in their opening seven matches, but regained their form against Rangers. The two-goal victory took the Reds to second place in their Champions League group as they start to look stronger in Europe following the horror show of their 4-1 defeat against Napoli in the first game of the group.
The German was delighted with his side’s improvement in the match but could not resist taking aim at VAR as the nature of the team’s goals meant he could celebrate the goals straight away. Alexander-Arnold’s first came via a spectacular free kick with Salah doubling the lead from the penalty spot after Rangers teenager Leon King had fouled Luis Diaz.
“It was exactly what we needed tonight,” he told BT Sport after the match. “A new formation, we had to change things. We had plenty of chances, imagine if we had taken more of them. Really good game. Very important.
“Two set piece goals as well – I love this as it means you don’t need to wait for VAR.”
Alexander-Arnold’s stunning opener meant he became one of the matches major talking points following a week in the spotlight after his England snub by Gareth Southgate. Much of the criticism levied against the full-back has been about his defensive ability, with many onlookers appreciating that it falls short of his immense attacking talent.
However, Klopp was keen to defend the 23-year-old from his critics, claiming he was a good defender who has become exposed by the system.
“There is no problem with defending – in good moments everything is fine – if there is no protection it looks like he is exposed,” he said. “We changed it a little bit today.
“We expected a reaction – everyone expected a reaction – we really want to turn this into a positive and for that we need consistency. For that, you need top-class defending and we had that tonight. It worked out pretty well.”
Captain Jordan Henderson was also keen to defend the right-back as praising his ability to get forward and create. Liverpool switched systems for the game against Rangers, playing with a four-man attack with the skipper holding alongside Thiago. His role was largely to cover for Alexander-Arnold’s forays forward, something he said he did not have to do too frequently.
“You’ve got to give Trent a license to get forward and produce what he can produce up the pitch. I thought he was good defensively tonight, he did the basics really well. I didn’t have to cover too much.
“It can be difficult. You try to not listen to social media especially when you go through a tough period as an individual or a team. You’ve got to switch off the noise and focus on what you do day-to-day and stay focused on what we’re trying to achieve as a team. That’s not easy. It can hurt players at times but you’ve got to try and find a way to use it as fuel and energy on the pitch.”
Liverpool travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal this weekend as they look to get their Premier League campaign back on track. Klopp will see tonight’s result as the best possible preparation despite his cheeky digs at VAR.