Jurgen Klopp offers controversial reason why Man City let Gabriel Jesus join Arsenal as Liverpool boss admits Darwin Nunez is feeling the pressure

Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal striker celebrates a Premier League goal at Emirates Stadium

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has performed an instant U-turn after clarifying a controversial comment he made about the reasons behind Arsenal’s signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City this summer.

Mikel Arteta’s side have made a superb start to the season and currently sit top of the pile after seven wins from eight games. Currently a point clear of Manchester City at the summit, their only defeat was a 3-1 reverse at Manchester United last month.

However, they face a tough task to retain their position as top dogs this weekend when they come up against Liverpool on Sunday. The Reds have been in stuttering form themselves but showed signs they are on the right track with a high-intensity win over Rangers on Tuesday.

As such, the Emirates clash is arguably the pick of the weekend’s games with predictions for the game and the other nine Premier League matches here.

The Gunners look a genuine class act so far this season with two ‘new’ additions standing out. One of them, William Saliba, has actually been on their books since 2019. However, after a string of loans, it is only this season where he is making his mark.

Now a regular in the France set-up too, Saliba is one of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet.

The Gunners have also benefited greatly from the summer arrival of Jesus. The Brazil star was recently left out of his Tite’s latest international squad, placing in doubt his prospects of making their World Cup squad.

But his form for Arsenal has been highly-impressive to say the least. Indeed, in 10 appearances for the Gunners, Jesus has five goals and four assists.

Jurgen Klopp makes controversial Gabriel Jesus transfer claim

Costing £45m, Jesus has always had the capacity to become a world-class striker. However, having been in and out of the Manchester City throughout his time at the Etihad, he rarely was given the chance to prove his abilities.

It’s a different story, though, at Arsenal. His excellent form for the Gunners gives Arteta’s a real cutting edge in attack, with his all-round play also benefiting those around him.

As he prepares his side to try and stop him on Sunday, Klopp has offered a controversial explanation over why City allowed Jesus to sign for Arsenal.

However, in realising exactly how his comments would be seen, Klopp clarified he was talking about a geographical distance rather than the points difference between Arsenal and City.

“I don’t know Gabriel on a personal basis but I always liked him as a player,” Klopp said, via the Liverpool Echo. “I don’t think City, actually I know City wouldn’t have sold him to every club but Arsenal, the distance was big enough!”

Quickly backtracking, Klopp added: “Geographically! They did it. He’s an exceptional player, you always saw that when he played for City. His role at City was the nine, a winger.

“Last year everybody said City had no number nine. He was still there but he played more often from the wing. Now he can play his role. He’s flying in the moment, full of confidence.

“That’s what confidence does to top-quality players. If you’re not playing against them, it’s easy to enjoy what he’s doing at the moment. Now he’s our opponent for the weekend so we have to make sure that he stops flying for a weekend.”

Klopp in strong Darwin Nunez defence

Klopp, meanwhile, insists his own striker signing – the £64m Darwin Nunez – will need more time to settle in at Anfield.

Questions have been raised over the wisdom of signing the Uruguayan, with one pundit suggesting Erling Haaland has somehow got in the Liverpool striker’s head.

Klopp, however, is adamant that Nunez will soon come good and that his patchy form is a result of Liverpool’s inconsistent start as a collective.

“One of the things he showed so far in all the games he played (is) that he brings himself quite frequently in good finishing positions, which is actually the most important thing for a striker,” said Klopp.

“That’s why everybody should be, or could be, very optimistic about what’s coming from him in the future. That was absolutely good.

“I think he said himself, he feels the pressure. He needs to calm himself down but his movements are exceptional.

“If you could see him finishing in training, you’d think ‘oh my God!’. In the games, he’s in a bit of a rush and he just needs to calm down in those moments and use his full range of finishing.”

Klopp added: “He’s a kid, but a confident person as well, but not a grown-up man already.

“It was not a perfect start. He has a three-game suspension and you can’t get rid of that. He’s an aggressive player, he’s emotional and it should never happen again.

“But I really like his movements, they are really good and natural. That’s something we didn’t have before. That’s what I like and why I’m sure everything will be fine.”

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