Sunday 28 May 2017

Jurgen Klopp not concerned about Liverpool's defence after win at Palace

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp remains unconcerned about Liverpool's defensive lapses, despite them leading to Crystal Palace's two goals in their 4-2 victory at Selhurst Park.

The German also refused to say his team could win the Premier League title if they eradicate those errors.

After an unexpectedly strong start to the season continued with Saturday's victory - courtesy of finishes from Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino - and only goal difference is keeping Liverpool from first place.

Their total of 23 points is the same as Manchester City and Arsenal, but only one team in the division's top 10 has conceded more than their 13 goals, the latest two of which were headers from Palace's James McArthur after more unconvincing defending.

The concession of too many goals cost Liverpool the title under Klopp's predecessor Brendan Rodgers in 2014, and also undermined their pursuit of silverware under Roy Evans in the 1990s.

Klopp's team are similarly impressive in the attacking third, but told a stronger defence would make them title defenders, he responded: "We will sort the defence: what then happens, we will see.

"They can defend really well; it's normal (to have lapses). I know that everybody will talk about this, but...

"I don't go in the dressing room and say 'You're a really bad defender, and you are the goalkeeper, where are you?'

"They are all human beings, we work on it. I am completely convinced about the quality. If they make mistakes and stay in the game then, it's a very good test for them, and they stood it again.

"I was happy with the reaction (to conceding). Not with the situation, not with the style of the game, that's what we have to work on, but I'm happy with the reaction.

"We'll work on it and we will see where it leads."

Palace manager Alan Pardew surprisingly named £13million summer signing Andros Townsend as a substitute. He revealed afterwards he did so because the winger had asked to be re-positioned from the left wing to the right, and also that he considered Liverpool to be title contenders.

"(Townsend) wants to play on the right-hand side," he said. "Wilf (Zaha) was terrific, it's a tough decision. We're missing (Pape) Soare on the left. I'm not going to say it isn't a problem.

"I don't know about winning the league but they are certainly going to be close. The two centre-halves were terrific even if they made a mistake. That's an area they are not so strong, but played well.

"We were a bit too open against a side as good as they are; some brilliant technical play at times.

"We didn't start as we would have liked, as much pressure, we were defending in the last third. To concede from two set plays in unusual for us; that is something we need to address."

Pardew also questioned the decision to appoint Andre Marriner as referee.

Marriner awarded Liverpool a contentious last-minute penalty in the same fixture last season, which was converted by striker Christian Benteke - who has since moved between the two clubs - to give the Reds a 2-1 success.

The official was booed by sections of the Selhurst Park crowd during Saturday's game and Pardew was also frustrated Marriner turned down three penalty appeals from the Eagles.

Pardew told BT Sport: "It was too open at times for us and we gifted possession a little bit too much to Liverpool.

"But there were still some decisions that went against us today. I don't think Andre Marriner should have reffed this game. He gives the penalty last year so we've got a negative in our mind anyway.

"Why was Mike Riley (manager of the Professional Game Match Officials) giving him the game today? I can't understand it.

"And then we get three penalty calls, okay they are tight but they are probably no worse than Christian's last year so it's just a little bit frustrating that part."

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