Jurgen Klopp was “completely happy” with Liverpool’s performance in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City on penalties, pointing out the character and fight shown by his side will fuel their pursuit of silverware.
Sunday’s showdown at Wembley between the Premier League champions and the continental kings ended 1-1 in normal time with Joel Matip‘s header cancelling out Raheem Sterling‘s effort. Gini Wijnaldum was the only player to miss his kick in the resulting shootout, which Pep Guardiola’s men won 5-4.
City were slick and more clinical than Liverpool in the first half, but the Reds dominated the second period with eight shots on target to one. A Kyle Walker scissor-kick denied Mohamed Salah the winner on 93 minutes, with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo — who Guardiola felt was the man of the match — thwarting Xherdan Shaqiri shortly after.
“I’m completely happy about the full performance,” Klopp said. “If you want to be prepared for Man City, you have to make a preseason game against Man City; no team plays like them. You saw that in a few moments in the first half, when they can do what they do. We struggled a little bit positioning-wise but that’s normal. We changed that for the second half, which helped us a lot.
“Football-wise, the second half was just really, really good, the best way you can play against City. They are in the early stages [of preseason] as well. They will be in a different shape in a couple of weeks, for sure. But having this amount of chances we had today is a very good sign for us, absolutely. I liked the game a lot. I don’t like the result, but I liked the game a lot, so for us it was very, very important.
“We will try everything. It’s not as much important what I could say but what the boys showed today. I thought they looked pretty hungry.
“That doesn’t mean it will work out, but we fought today after all the things that were said about the competition, both teams wanted to win it desperately, I saw that. My team is not in doubt about being satisfied or whatever, to stop working or stop running.
“The character of the team is still incredibly good. We had a difficult preseason but the boys did what they had to do and were affected by it.
“We played football games against really good teams and that didn’t feel too good. It was very important we all gave ourselves and our supporters a sign of the performance today. Now let’s carry on.”
Only one point separated Liverpool (97) and title winners City (98) in the league last season and Guardiola expects Klopp’s charges to be their greatest challengers again.
“We know who we will face [for honours],” he said. “Liverpool are champions of Europe. They are a top-class team. The difference is only one point ahead, one penalty. It’s minimal. It’s good to play them to show the guys, this is the team we’re gonna face this season and how well prepared we have to be to win the titles.”