London (AP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grinned, laughed, and held up his index finger in warning. “Guys – very important!” Grinned the Arsenal forward on the team bus, waving his cell phone camera on the buckled silver platter.
“The seat belt. It is important!’ The former Bundesliga pro was clearly having fun after winning the English Super Cup, but his former coach’s mood was probably much more murky: Jürgen Klopp missed the first title of the season with Liverpool FC in the Wembley final on Saturday.
“We had our two or three big chances of not converting,” said the 53-year-old, who had successfully worked with Aubameyang in the Bundesliga at Borussia Dortmund, after 4-5 on penalties. At the end of regular time, the score was 1: 1. “That’s what games decide,” said Klopp. “We know that and that’s the reason for the result.”
Aubameyang had converted the decisive fifth penalty for the Gunners after Rhian Brewster, who had been specially substituted from the point before the decision, hit the bar as the third Liverpool shooter. “If anyone is responsible for it, it’s me because I made the decision,” Klopp said. “I wanted him there because I know he has a lot of confidence and can shoot for sure. Not today – that happens in football and in life. No problem.”
Aubameyang had put Arsenal ahead early with a remarkable long shot (12th), Japanese Takumi Minamino initially equalized with his first competitive goal for the Reds (73rd). Even before the break, the champions pushed for the equalizer, in the second half former Hoffenheim Roberto Firmino (51st) and Sadio Mané (56th) narrowly missed. But Arsenal also had opportunities.
The Supercup between champions and cup winners – in England’s Community Shield – is not a high priority. It’s considered a better friendly and the final form check before the Premier League starts. Moreover, preparation time was minimal for both clubs.
However, Aubameyang could also use the game to show that his faux pas was just a mistake after beating Chelsea in the cup final in early August. At that moment, he dropped the silver cup briefly at the award ceremony. Hence the seat belt in the bus.