Virgil van Dijk insisted he would ‘take the blame’ for Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat against Arsenal, as the newly crowned Premier League champions saw their hopes of setting a new points record evaporate at Emirates Stadium.
iverpool can now only reach a total of 99 points as their shaky form since clinching the club’s first league title in 30-years continued, with errors from Van Dijk and keeper Alisson Becker gifted Arsenal two first half goals that proved to be crucial in the final outcome.
This defeat will not dampen the celebrations as Liverpool are presented with the Premier League trophy after their final home game of the campaign against Chelsea next Wednesday, but Van Dijk could not hide his annoyance after his uncharacteristic errors.
“I take the blame for it, I take it as a man and then we move on,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports. “Is it just as annoying. Even though you’re champions, of course, yeah I want to win the game, especially if you see how we lose.
“The goals we gave them as a present. Until their first goal, it was totally us, we gave them two goals and it is difficult to come back. We got what we deserved.
“You can see until I made a mistake was nothing wrong, we play well. I had a feeling we could win here and comfortably at one point, but if you give them two goals this can happen.”
On a night when Arsenal had just two shots on target, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp struggled to explain how his side had lost their fourth Premier League game of their title-winning season.
“Twice a massive lack of concentration and these two moments killed the game for us,” said Klopp. “We did a lot of things well, but you cannot win football games when you give away goals like this.
“We lost concentration and in the Premier League you can’t do that. We have to take that, we have to learn from that and we will.
“It was not a physical problem. We were there, we chased the game, but we had two moments when we relaxed and credit to Arsenal, they were there in these two situations and that’s why we lost.”
Mikel Arteta saluted the most impressive win he has masterminded in his time as Arsenal manager, as his side bounced back from last Sunday’s north London derby defeat against Tottenham in the grand manner ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup clash against Manchester City.
“In terms of energy and happiness in the dressing room before the semi-final, it’s a good medicine,” said Arteta. “To beat this team you have to have moments in the game when you take your chances, defend and have a bit of luck.
“I was worried after 1-0 how we would react. We were able to pick one moment and believe again. The gap between the two teams today is enormous, we can not improve it in two months, but the accountability, the fight is now equal and I am very proud of that. The rest will take some time.”