Tuesday 24 October 2017

Frustrated Klopp says point feels like defeat

Newcastle Utd 1 Liverpool 1

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez. Photo: Reuters

Luke Edwards

Jurgen Klopp accepts that his team are going through a difficult patch but remains adamant there are no problems with the way they are playing despite seeing them drop two more points at St James's Park.

Liverpool have managed just one win in their last seven games and are seven points behind league leaders Manchester City - a huge gap at this stage of the campaign.

Joselu of Newcastle United scores his sides first goal. Photo: Getty Images
Joselu of Newcastle United scores his sides first goal. Photo: Getty Images

But having seen his side dominate possession and create a number of good chances against Newcastle, Klopp argued that the only thing that needs to change is their luck.

The German was irritated by suggestions Newcastle deserved a point because they had deliberately conceded possession and territory so they could play on the counter-attack, but he did concede that Liverpool must improve if they are going to have any chance of beating Manchester United in their first game after the international break.

"I thought we were the more active and the better side and created more chances," said Klopp. "We should have won.

"I played a lot of times with different teams in my life and got a point and after it feels like a good point, but this feels like we have lost.

Joselu celebrates after scoring. Photo: Getty Images
Joselu celebrates after scoring. Photo: Getty Images

Promising

"We are the better team here, again. We created more chances, again. We are in very promising situations and we don't score. That, of course, is a problem, but it will not stay like this.

"I know - I am long enough around football. It will be one day when the knot opens and we will score more goals."

Asked whether he was worried by the fact his team had won just once in their last seven attempts, Klopp replied: "There are different ways to get one win in seven.

"You can play really bad and lose a lot of games, or you play more than a few games really, really good.

"Most of the games, actually, we were the better side, but a few chances are enough for the opponent to score.

"We are having our hard moment," added a clearly frustrated Klopp, who withdrew all three of his attackers.

That will have given Rafa Benitez a moment of satisfaction as he extended his record of unbeaten matches against the club he managed for six years, until 2010, to five.

For Newcastle, this was another encouraging performance that delighted Benitez, who was touched by the huge banner unveiled in the Gallowgate End before the game in his honour.

"I was really pleased because the relationship is very good and today it was with both fans, so I'm very pleased," he said.

"It is not what you are expecting when you go to a club but, if you give everything, the fans give you everything.

"It is not just me, it is the way they are behind the team, they give the team an extra 5pc."

Those Liverpool supporters tucked away up high at the back of Level Seven in the Leazes End did not really need a further reminder of the tactical nous of Benitez - they have Istanbul for that - but still they got one.

A newly-promoted team that should have had a bit more spent on its strengthening in the summer was coerced and marshalled superbly by the Spaniard.

For periods in the first half, Tyneside could only hold its breath as the attacking might of a football club who fought off Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, was showcased.

There were times when Benitez's surgeon would have covered his eyes, if football is his game.

His recent patient, who missed Newcastle's victory at Swansea after recovering from an operation to remove an infection in his hernia, showed in his animated reaction the difficulty his side faced as Liverpool flowed.

But he has installed spirit, and shape and belief into his Magpies and they called on all three to fight their way back into a game Liverpool threatened to run away with for spells in the first half.

Klopp's men had given fair warning of their attacking intent and armoury in the 23rd minute.

A right-wing corner from Coutinho was flicked goalwards by Georginio Wijnaldum, the former Newcastle midfielder, and the ball clipped off a post with Rob Elliot beaten.

Dejan Lovren's shot on the rebound was blocked by the recalled Javier Manquillo and, when the second rebound fell to Sadio Mane, he shot wide of the far post. The naturally demonstrative Klopp had his head in his hands. No one was quite sure how the ball had not ended up in the Newcastle goal.

That was far easier to fathom four minutes later following the brilliance of Coutinho and some woeful defending from Newcastle.

Benitez could not hide his fury when Jamaal Lascelles failed to clear his lines properly on the Newcastle byline.

As the ball was flicked into the path of Coutinho, the returning Jonjo Shelvey afforded the Brazilian an age of time and the Barcelona target bent an excellent shot from 25 yards that flew past Elliot.

Coutinho was again given space in the 33rd minute, this time blasting his shot way over the Newcastle crossbar.

It would take good fortune for Benitez and his current side to get a major foothold back in the game.

Shelvey's artistry had been preferred to Isaac Hayden's endeavour and in the 36th minute it worked, when the former Liverpool midfielder slipped through a superb ball to Joselu, who looked in line with the visitors' defence.

Hesistated

The former Stoke centre-forward hesitated as he broke through and a stadium rose to its feet in anticipation.

That allowed Joel Matip to catch him, but the defender managed only to kick the ball off the forward's leg and the ricochet carried it into the far corner of Simon Mignolet's goal.

The Spaniard's relief was shared by the home crowd. It gave Benitez something to work with. That would prove enough.

Klopp's forwards' profligacy bore the brunt of his anger, rather than the porous nature of a defence that has raised many questions recently.

He fumed pitchside. He remonstrated angrily with his captain Jordan Henderson in the 79th minute, when another break had been cleared, this time by the head of Matt Ritchie.

Their best opportunity came through a rare mistake from Ciaran Clark, who, on his weaker foot, missed a clearance that ran into the path of Daniel Sturridge.

With just Elliot to beat, the England forward was denied by the Republic of Ireland international and the rebound was struck over by Mohamed Salah.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, an 84th-minute substitute, headed the ball wide with three minutes remaining but it was Newcastle who almost snatched it, when Mo Diame's effort from a Ritchie corner was deflected into the arms of Mignolet from close range. © Daily Telegraph, London.

Telegraph.co.uk

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport