London (AP) – A high-class derby, a strong performance by his Liverpool FC, and yet Jürgen Klopp was extremely frustrated in the end.
“It’s getting harder and harder to accept that,” complained the coach after the bitter 2: 2 (1: 1) at Everton, where a questionable offside decision by the video referee robbed the English football champions of victory. “I’m really a VAR advocate,” said Klopp, “but you would expect the decisions to be correct, especially when it comes to offside.” On top of that, the Liverpool coach will have to do without his injured defense chief for a long time. Virgil van Dijk has to undergo knee surgery and is out for an indefinite period.
There was also frustration among two German Premier League stars in London: Despite their first league goals for Chelsea, the German internationals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz could not cheer. Because in the 3: 3 (2: 1) against Southampton FC, the Chelsea defense sometimes seemed completely out of place. “A bad day for us,” summed up Havertz, who was also self-critical.
In Liverpool, Klopp saw the video referee to blame. He did not give Jordan Henderson’s goal in stoppage time because Sadio Mané is said to have been sidelined shortly before. However, this was not clearly visible on the TV pictures. Commentators were irritated. Liverpool FC requested a statement from the league. “Sometimes they bend the lines,” joked Henderson at Sky Sports, risking repercussions himself.
The tough and momentous entry of Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford against Liverpool’s defender Virgil van Dijk also caused trouble. “For me it was a clear penalty,” said Klopp and complained that in this case the video evidence was not used. “I think the foul should have been watched, but that didn’t happen.”
The otherwise robust van Dijk left the place with a painful face and was examined in the hospital that evening. On Sunday the bitter diagnosis: ligament damage. The Dutchman needs an operation. In addition to the defender, new signing Thiago is also threatened with a break. The former Bayern star was injured in a foul by Richarlison, who saw it red, and threatens to at least miss the Champions League opener on Wednesday at Ajax Amsterdam.
After all, Klopp was satisfied with the reaction of his team two weeks after the 2-7 debacle at Aston Villa. “That’s what I wanted to see,” said the coach, who celebrated a goal from Mané (3rd) and the 100th Liverpool goal by Mohamed Salah (72nd). Michael Keane (19th) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (81st) each equalized for leaders Everton. Klopp still said: “It was the best away derby we have played since I was in Liverpool.”
At Chelsea FC, after Michael Ballack, Marko Marin, André Schürrle and Antonio Rüdiger, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have joined the list of German Premier League goalscorers. In his fifth Chelsea game, Werner even managed a brace (15/28).
“We had 42 good minutes,” said Havertz, “but then I made a mistake.” With his loss of the ball he initiated the first goal conceded, but responsible for the missed victory were mainly the weak Chelsea defense and breakdown goalkeeper Kepa. The 80 million euro man once again made serious mistakes.
The renewed Chelsea lead through Havertz’s first goal lasted a good half an hour. Then Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard (90 + 2) ruined Chelsea’s dress rehearsal for the Champions League match against Sevilla FC on Tuesday. “Now we have to pull ourselves together,” warned Havertz, “hopefully it’ll work better next time.”