Friday 20 September 2019

Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to become Europe's 'ugliest team to play against'

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool may be renowned for attractive football, but Jurgen Klopp wants his side to become the "ugliest" in Europe to play against.

With his team looking to extend their winning streak to seven when they meet Southampton today, Klopp says there has been a period of reinvention, with solidity in defence as obvious as attacking power. No home goal has been conceded in the Premier League since February.

"We really want to be the ugliest team to play against. That is the plan, with good football players - which is very nice," said Klopp.

"We want to be good at defending. The best news I have had in the last two weeks is how we have changed or reinvented again our defensive skills.

"We didn't need them too much in the first few games - it was not that we didn't have to defend but they were different games.

"Against Tottenham, against Paris St-Germain, I loved how we did it. It is really difficult to do it, otherwise everyone would do it. We still played football and that was a really big step in the season so far."

The manager does not attribute this key improvement just to his defence and midfielders, suggesting Mohamed Salah gave one of his most important performances for the club against PSG in midweek.

"In that department (defensively), it was one of his best - 100pc," said Klopp.

"We said a few times, these three forward players have to defend together - to cut off passing options. Then it is easier for the rest.

"Without them in the running mode, we have no chance.

"I think people see (the work-rate) with Mo but if you think about the defensive thing after, then you say, 'ah, he didn't score'. That's how it is.

"He knows that I am more than happy with him in this moment.

"With Roberto Firmino, it took a while before he got the credit for his work-rate. I don't want to make defenders out of them but they have to be in the right position."

With two games every week, Klopp is planning changes.

Xherdan Shaqiri could start for the first time today. Klopp said: "We are going to have to use the boys. They're in good shape. You saw it with Daniel Sturridge, but Daniel is not the only one scratching the door. They all want to play. They want to feature and that is what we have to do."

A win today will secure a piece of Anfield history.

In all competitions (including the Community Shield), no Liverpool side have won their first seven games of a season.

"I'm pretty sure the boys know that. Our 100pc aim is to win that game, as you can imagine. The rest will follow," added Klopp. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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