Saturday 29 April 2017

WATCH - Jurgen Klopp gives brutally honest assessment of Liverpool's defending after shock Swansea defeat

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Jurgen Klopp has slammed his team's defending in the 3-2 defeat to Swansea at Anfield which leaves Liverpool's title chances looking slim.

The Swans, who were bottom of the table going into the game, took a 2-0 lead through two Fernando Llorente goals before a Roberto Firmino brace pulled the hosts back.

However, Sigurdsson was on hand to slot past Simon Mignolet in the 74th minute to cap off a frantic second half and serve a severe title blow to Jurgen Klopp's side.

The German was dismayed at the passive response of his players to long balls that led to Swansea’s goals. “It could not have been any worse,” he admitted, developing on his criticism of his defence. “I don't know how Llorente could be completely alone to score the first in the six-yard box,” he added. “The defending around all three goals wasn't good enough, 100 per cent. Defending [is] a very important part of the game.”

Klopp was furious after his side collapsed in the second period before conceding the winner when seemingly on top.

"These things happen but we came back and played really well," he said. "Our first goal was deserved and the second also, but the third was most disappointing (to concede)."

Klopp had chosen to use Ragnar Klavan at centre back, even with Joel Matip available to play having been given clearance by Fifa following the uncertainty of the last few weeks after his decision not to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations. Klavan was at fault for Sigurdsson’s 75th minute intervention.

“Joel had just two training sessions to prepare properly for the game,” Klopp reasoned. “So the preparation was not ideal.”

Paul Clement reiterated his commitment to keeping Llorente at Swansea City after the Basque forward’s two goals helped inflict Liverpool’s first defeat at Anfield in a year.

“I think his performance was very good. If you get the right service in to him, he’s a goalscorer. That comes from set pieces and crosses,” Clement said.

“Am I afraid to lose him? I want to keep him. I’d say that’s a priority over the next few weeks.”

Clement spoke about changing the mindset of a Swansea team that had been bottom of the Premier League at the start of the day having conceded the most goals in the division.

“We’re not going to look at the table, how many wins or points we need. It’s about delivering performances. Against Arsenal (when Swansea lost 4-0 at home), that performance was 35 minutes long. Here, it was a 90-minute performance and took our chances when they came along. The next objective is to put in a performance against Southampton, nothing else.

“It’s a clean slate when a new coach comes in. I’ve told the players we’re starting afresh. I’ve tried to keep it simple and get the basics right. Liverpool have got a lot of technical players who are good in tight spaces. It was a plan to let Liverpool go wide and encourage them to put crosses in the box. In the air, we had the defence to deal with that threat.

“To concede two so quickly was not a good moment. The crowd lifted and that gave Liverpool a lot more energy.

“This kind of performance can give everyone a big lift. The team has been down at times and criticised for not being able to make a response. Going two ahead and having been penned back, this shows the character is there.”

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