Saturday 17 March 2018

Jurgen Klopp blames Liverpool midfield for crushing Manchester City defeat

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Samuel Lovett

Jurgen Klopp has admitted Liverpool’s midfield unit must take their fair share of blame for Saturday’s humiliation at Manchester City.

City ran five past the visitors in a one-sided affair that saw midfielder Sadio Mane shown red for catching City’s Ederson with a raised foot.

Although the dismissal handed Pep Guardiola’s men the advantage, Klopp believes Liverpool’s backline, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, was left exposed by the failings of the side’s midfield unit – even before Mane’s sending off.

“If we lose the ball in the middle, then they can play the ball there,” said Klopp. “City are always playing like this. They use opportunities like this pretty well.

“The first goal was so easy to defend... push up! Then two players are offside.

“But we didn't, and that's what the first half was like, we weren't compact enough and didn't cause them enough problems. I was not happy, but I also realise we had those kind of situations going forward too.”

The statistics from the match add further weight to Klopp’s words. Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Emre Can and later James Milner made a combined total of just two tackles all match in what was a limp defensive display from Liverpool’s midfield.

“City is very offensive-oriented and we are very offensive-oriented.

“And if players are properly defending in midfield (you have a better chance) – we are usually much better at that than we were against City.

“You can win games like this, but we had no chance against City with one man down. But can we play better against City with one man down? Yes, for sure.”

Klopp admitted that he has endured “few days like this as a manager” but was consigned to the fact his team deserved criticism in the wake of such a defeat.

He added: “Losing 5-0 feels really bad, but at one point I knew with the way things were going that it was not our day, 100%.

“Unfortunately, I have had few days like this as a manager. Not at Liverpool, thank God.

“I was with Dortmund against Bayern, when we lost 5-1, which we should have won! Nobody will remember this, but it was like this.

“Things like this happen. It was really bad, but we have to take the blame for everything that you saw on Saturday. That's how life is.

“Two weeks ago we got all the credit (for beating Arsenal), now we have to take the not so nice part of criticism.”

Independent News Service

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