• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Klopp hails Liverpool spirit after dumping Arsenal out of FA Cup


Anthony Nlebem

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised his team’s fighting spirit after defeating Arsenal 2-0 at Emirates Stadium to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold”s free-kick in the 80th minute and Luis Diaz sealed the victory for Liverpool deep into stoppage time.

Arsenal dominated the first half but were very wasteful with Martin Odegaard hitting the bar, Reiss Nelson and Kai Havertz also missed clear chances.

The defeat means Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side are out of the FA Cup and League Cup and are no longer in pole position in the Premier League.

“In the end, we came through. I’m really happy we could win this game. Arsenal could have won it without a doubt. We finished it off and it spoke for the character of the boys,” Klopp said in his post-match conference.

“I’m super proud. It was a super difficult draw. Maybe the most difficult we could have got.

“It wasn’t an easy game to enjoy in the first half. We changed a bit at half-time.

“We were really in the game in the second half. We scored the goals and fought for 95 minutes.”

Liverpool are two points ahead of second-placed Aston Villa and five above fourth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League table as the Reds chase a first title since 2020.

Klopp was relieved to avoid a draining FA Cup replay.

“We desperately wanted to avoid a draw. Now I don’t have to make any decision which is good,” Klopp said.

“Wednesday is the next game and then a few days off. We have to take steps if we want to be where we are. We will have a winter break now.”

Klopp also praised Alexander-Arnold, who kept driving Liverpool forward in the second half.

“What a game he played by the way in all the positions he played. You see his class on the ball,” the German said.

Liverpool, despite missing captain Virgil van Dijk through illness and with Mohamed Salah at the Africa Cup of Nations, held firm

Despite missing  Virgil van Dijk through illness and Mohamed Salah for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Liverpool held firm and survive Arsenal assault at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have now won one of their last six games in all competitions, losing three in a row to dent their Premier League title chase.

This is also Arsenal’s third successive defeat since their 1-1 draw at Anfield on December 23, 2023.