Friday 22 March 2019

Jurgen Klopp denies Liverpool are left defensively vulnerable by free rein given to ‘Fab Four’

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Action Images via Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

Sam Dean

Jurgen Klopp accepted that his Liverpool side must learn from the defensive mistakes that continue to hinder their progress this season, but insisted his team’s attacking approach was not to blame for the three goals they conceded to Arsenal on Friday.

Arsenal capitalised on defensive errors by defender Joe Gomez and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to score three times in the space of five minutes in the 3-3 draw at the Emirates, but Klopp said the deserved result would have been a 6-3 victory for his free-flowing side.

“There are so many positive things I can say about this team,” Klopp said. “My god, how can we play football like this, pass like this, run like this and then we get this [result]? It feels not fair, but it is fair because we made the mistakes. We are a team, we are all responsible. I am responsible. But the performance was good.”

Klopp rejected accusations that his team leave themselves vulnerable defensively by focusing on getting the best out of the so-called ‘Fab Four’ of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack.

“Ask any team how often they outplayed us,” the Liverpool manager said. “That does not happen.”

He added: “We did not give any chances away because we were offensively orientated. To be a much better football team we have to avoid mistakes and use our chances more often. The deserved result would have been 6-3.”

The point leaves Liverpool a point clear of Arsenal in fourth place ahead of their Boxing Day meeting with Swansea at Anfield.

“We know our situation,” Klopp said. “The draw feels really not good, but that’s good because we should have won like in all the other draws we have. That’s a very important thing and in a very difficult league, performance-wise we are really consistent so far. If we stay consistent and avoid mistakes, we will win much more football games than we lose or draw.”

Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson for Swansea’s visit after the England midfielder pulled up with a hamstring injury in the early exchanges on Friday.

They were beaten 3-2 at home by Swansea in January last season, in one of the most damaging results of a difficult winter for Klopp’s side.

“I don’t really remember the game from last year, to be honest,” Klopp said. “I remember we lost it, but that’s not the plan for Boxing Day.”

In the Swansea dugout will be caretaker Swansea manager Leon Britton following the sacking of Paul Clement this week. Britton’s move from the field into the dugout is similar to how Klopp began in club management, as the German took over as manager of Mainz 05 upon his retirement in 2001.

“If he [Britton] stays as a manager then it’s the same career that I had years ago,” Klopp said. “That was how I became a manager. I know him as a player, of course, and that’s what Mainz did with me. But he is a much better footballer than I was so that makes him more dangerous.”

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