Jurgen Klopp said Rhian Brewster should bear no blame for the Community Shield defeat after missing in the penalty shoot-out, with the Liverpool manager instead taking responsibility for it himself.
Arsenal lifted the trophy after succeeding in the spot-kick contest, which came as a consequence of the two teams drawing 1-1, and Brewster’s miss proved decisive.
The young striker stepped up for Liverpool’s third penalty but saw his effort hit the crossbar, with Cedric Soares, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang subsequently converting theirs to secure the win for the Gunners.
But Klopp did not want any blame to be felt by Brewster, adamant it was on him for bringing the forward on with penalties in mind in the first place.
“We constantly have to learn and prove then again we can deal with defeats,” Klopp told reporters in a news conference. “We lost the competition today as a team and Rhian is a part of that.
“If he would have scored the penalty and somebody else would have missed, it would have been the same feeling pretty much. I get that it’s different when you are the one; I was in the situation myself as a player, obviously that’s not nice.
“But there are bigger catastrophes than that, it’s just part of the deal. I think with his technique – his shooting and finishing technique – I don’t think ever in his life there will be a goalie in touch with the ball around a penalty, but missing it like this is possible because he takes full risk.
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“I didn’t see him ever missing a penalty since we worked together. Today it happened; that can happen, that’s how it is. Dealing with defeats is in football a very important lesson always. We are all not perfect in it.
“But this will not harm him because we will not let it happen. And if somebody is to blame for that it’s me because I made that decision. It was obvious we do it for the penalties, we took Gini Wijnaldum off and we did it for the penalty shoot-out.
“I wanted him in the position because I know he is a naturally confident boy, he’s a real finisher, his penalties are really good usually. Today not – that happens in football and in life, no problem.”
When asked if he planned to share any advice with Brewster, having gone through similar in his playing days, Klopp added: “I rarely join or share my football experiences with the boys because it was too long ago, but I’m not the only one who missed a penalty in my life in the team, so the boys pick him up.
“It’s not about me making it bigger than it is. He missed a penalty, we had a few words directly when he left the pitch, that’s all fine. Nothing to apologise for or whatever. That’s football, no problem.
“If we wanted to win the game then we should have scored during the 92 minutes, we didn’t do that often enough and that’s why it came to a penalty shoot-out. It’s a lottery, we know that.
“It’s not about who is the best, it’s just you have to score and we did that four times really well. And this penalty was not the worst I ever saw, it was just a little bit too high. There was absolutely no chance for the goalie, it was just too high. That’s why it happened, how it happened.”