Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has taken the blame for Rhian Brewster after he missed his penalty in Liverpool’s shootout defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield.
With one apiece heading into injury time at Wembley, Brewster replaced Gini Wijnaldum as Klopp felt the youngster was ‘a real finisher’ that would be a ‘confident’ in taking a penalty.
But the 22-year-old hit the bar with his spot kick as Arsenal went on to win 5-4 in the shooutout to lift the trophy.
Klopp said the experience could help Brewster in the long-term and believes he will come back stronger.
‘This will not harm Rhian,’ said Klopp. ‘If anyone is to blame, it is me. I wanted him in the position because he is a real finisher and confident. Today, not. That happens in life and in football.
‘We all have to learn and prove we can deal with defeats. If he would have scored and someone else missed, it is the same theme. There are bigger reasons than that. Missing it like this is possible. I have never seen him miss one but it happens.’
During the game Arsenal had a slick fluidity and a renewed energy about them, while such attacking prowess was missing from Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
The dynamic trio lacked energy in the attacking third and failed to light their creative spark.
Klopp told BT Sport: ‘Today I was sad. When you play against a formation like this – which happened to us pretty much always, not only when we are 1-0 down, even when it’s 0-0 a lot of teams play like this – then you need to be in the final third really fresh.
‘You want to force it sometimes, create angles, create crosses, passing in behind, all this kind of stuff. The rhythm for that fell a little bit.
‘We couldn’t create exactly the chance we wanted but we had two of them and the third one that we scored with. Against a team with the quality of Arsenal, on some days it must be enough.
‘When you finish it off, it is enough. When you don’t finish it off it’s not enough and today it was not enough.’
Despite not reaching their potential, Klopp felt like the result was unjust. He claimed Arsenal lacked in meaningful chances and that they had plenty of opportunity to close out Mikel Arteta’s side.
‘I think they had exactly two shots at goal and one situation that was similar.
‘After a long diagonal ball, we left Neco [Williams] alone and Auba could come inside to finish it off. The the other moment Ali [Alisson] made a save. That was it, pretty much,’ he said.
‘Apart from that we had to play against a low block with an incredible counter-attacking threat. In these games you need then the final touch.
‘In the end we created enough moments but we should have created more. We had the ball a lot but had to play around.
‘We had a few good moments, Sadio had chances, we deserved the equaliser for sure and then could have scored more.
‘We didn’t do that and have to take it. A penalty shoot-out can always be a bit of a lottery. We were unlucky there and congratulations to Arsenal. We respect the competition.’