Jurgen Klopp described the manner of Liverpool’s Emirates FA Cup win at Arsenal as ‘pretty special’ after his side progressed to round four.
A testing third-round encounter at Emirates Stadium on Sunday saw the home team enjoy the better chances during a first half in which both sides hit the crossbar.
The Reds began to assert themselves after the interval, however, and edged in front in the 80th minute as Jakub Kiwior sent Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick into his own goal.
The 2-0 victory was capped off deep into stoppage time when Luis Diaz rasped in a finish that ensured Liverpool’s name is in Monday’s draw for the next stage.
“No, everything was better in the second half. The first half… it’s difficult to prepare for something that Arsenal did tonight, for the full 90 minutes pretty much I would say but especially in the first half, the different set-up with [Kai] Havertz and [Martin] Odegaard more or less a double 10. It was a 4-2-2-2 with wingers wide, a massive threat,” explained Klopp.
“So, we had a few days’ time to prepare for this difficult game, obviously with a slightly different team, and then in the last second Virgil [van Dijk] couldn’t play. That didn’t help. Timing was bad in the first half for pressing, for pretty much everything in the first line. That makes it tricky for the midfield and nearly impossible for the last line.
“So we had to defend deeper and had to block balls and stuff like this, but that’s then football as well, then you have to show desire, passion, determination and these kinds of things, which the boys showed. And then we changed obviously as well quite a bit and that caused then Arsenal problems.
“That’s how football is. These little parts, you cannot be always that influential. But as little influence as I had in the first half on what they did, I would say as little as the influence for Mikel [Arteta] in a moment like that.”