Klopp wary of long-ball threat from the Gunners
Published 14/08/2016 | 02:30
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is paying little attention to Arsenal's defensive crisis and is more concerned his side might be undone by a direct approach from Arsene Wenger's men.
The Gunners begin the new season with limited options in the centre of defence due to injuries to new club captain Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, as well as concerns over Laurent Koscielny's fitness.
However, Klopp does not subscribe to the theory that it is a perfect time to face a team lacking any senior central defenders and has warned his players they must prepare for a repeat of the longer passes which caused them issues in a 3-3 draw at Anfield back in January.
While Wenger's teams have always been associated with a possession-based style, Klopp concedes the 'route one' attacks to striker Olivier Giroud provided plenty of headaches.
"We think about our play and our game and what we saw from them in the pre-season, their style of play, how they defend, how they attack," he said.
"We know Arsenal usually are a football-playing team but when they played last time against us (they played) a lot of long balls. Always (to) Giroud, second ball (to Mesut) Ozil. That caused us a lot of problems in this game. It was 3-3 in the last second. That's what we think about and not what kind of problems they could have."
This pre-season has been the first Klopp has experienced on Merseyside having been parachuted in in October last term during a hectic fixture schedule.
Opportunities to implement his ideas were therefore limited and this summer has presented him with an extended period to improve the fitness of a group required to carry out his 'gegenpressing' tactics. Klopp admits his players' involvement in Euro 2016 robbed him of a "perfect pre-season".
"It's much better than it was in October, of course," he said. "The first three weeks we had a big number of players then all the players who were part of the Euros joined us, we had to bring them all together and they had different fitness levels, that's a real challenge. Nearly all the other clubs had it, so it's not an excuse, it's only a fact. Having them all together for six weeks, that would have been a perfect pre-season."
Sunday Indo Sport