Jurgen Klopp has defended Rhian Brewster and attempted to shoulder the blame after the 20-year-old striker missed his penalty in Liverpool’s shootout defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield.
With the scores level at 1-1 at Wembley Brewster replaced Gini Wijnaldum in injury time, presumably for the sole purpose of taking a penalty.
However, with the score at 2-2 in the shootout the youngster hit the bar with his attempt, and his miss ultimately proved decisive as the Gunners eventually triumphed 5-4.
Klopp stuck up for his player following the game, however, and said the experience could help Brewster in the long-term.
“This will not harm Rhian,” he said. “If anyone is to blame, it is me. But I wanted him in the position because he is a real finisher and confident. Today, not. That happens in football and life.
“We all have to learn and prove we can deal with defeats. If he would have scored and someone else missed, it’s the same theme. There are bigger reasons than that.
“Missing it like this is possible. I have never seen him miss one but today it happens, it can.
“I rarely share my football experiences with the boys because it was so long ago. He missed a penalty, we had a few words, it is all fine. No need to apologise, that is football. No problem.”
A positive for Liverpool was the impact of Takumi Minamino, who came off the bench to score his first goal for the club.
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And on the Japanese international, Klopp added: “It was big day for him and us. The only thing he lacked for us was a goal. He’s had some moments and the shape he is in is obviously good.
“The goal was the logical step for him. I am very pleased for him. It’s very important for us and him to make this step.”