Thursday 19 April 2018

Klopp points to stability in Liverpool's defence despite set-piece failures

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Eleanor Crooks

Jurgen Klopp does not believe that the goals Liverpool conceded against West Brom showed they have a problem defending set-pieces. The Reds needed a very late Divock Origi strike to salvage a 2-2 draw at Anfield last weekend after Craig Dawson and Jonas Olsson had both scored from corners for Albion. Klopp was quick to defend goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who missed his punch to allow Dawson to head in, and protested Olsson's goal should have been disallowed. The German insisted no pattern could be discerned from the goals.

"They are all different," he said. "Of course it's a situation. Maybe it could be the next misunderstanding. Simon came out of his goal and wanted to reach the ball and that's how I work. You can say that if the goalkeeper comes out, he has to take the ball, and he didn't. But he came out because I said he should.

"Not in this situation, but in general. Because I think, as a goalkeeper, you have to try to help in the six-yard box as much as you can. That's what he tried and if you try sometimes you miss. It's not about quality, or something else, it's only this situation. The second goal, nobody spoke about things like this after the game because we defend bad set-plays, but it was a foul and it was offside.

"Everybody spoke about Jurgen Klopp, Tony Pulis, celebrating with fans, whatever, nobody spoke about this. If it's a foul and it's offside, how can I tell my team to defend it better? We have to defend so that nobody can easily make a goal. That's it. We know about this, but in this special game, they were two different situations to all the other things. Usually we are more stable in situations like this.

"We saw that some teams change their formations against us because of our kind of defending. We try to change now again something to be better prepared."

Klopp, meanwhile, is confident he can get the best out of striker Christian Benteke. The Belgium international swapped Aston Villa for Anfield in the summer after Liverpool shelled out £32.5million, but has come in for criticism for his performances.

Klopp insisted it was natural that Benteke, who has netted five goals for Liverpool, would take time to feel totally comfortable in the side. He said: "I have time to work. He's young enough to develop and that's what we do."

Today, Liverpool travel to Watford, who have been one of the surprise packages of the season and went into the weekend in seventh place in the Premier League table. But Klopp does not think it should be too much of a shock how well Quique Sanchez Flores' side are doing. He added: "But we go there not to clap our hands because of their season because we want to fight for the points."

Watford v Liverpool

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