Jürgen Klopp defiant that Liverpool are "really good" in most defensive situations despite recent errors

Jürgen Klopp defiant that Liverpool are "really good" in most defensive situations despite recent errors

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp remains confident that his side can stop their defensive rot, having leaked six avoidable goals in their last two Premier League games to pick up just one point, as he personally absorbed the blame for the Reds' recent problems at the back.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp is confident in the defensive abilities of his Liverpool team despite the disappointing manner in which they have conceded goals lately.

Liverpool have scored five goals in their last two Premier League games, yet picked up only one point overall after leaking six at the opposite end of the pitch.

Those two results - a crushing 4-3 reverse to Bournemouth having conceded three in the last 15 minutes followed by a 2-2 draw at Anfield against West Ham United - have dented the confident mood around a side who were only a point behind leagers Chelsea.

That gap now stands at six points, and the Reds' recent slide has come in for plenty of criticism - particularly aimed at their soft-centred nature at the back having looked convincingly the better side in both of those games.

But as he previewed the upcoming trip to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, Klopp dismissed the idea that his side have any particularly large issues in keeping the opposition at bay.

Klopp: Most of the time, we're really good at defending

Asked if he was unhappy with the goals Liverpool have conceded recently, Klopp suggested that a manager can never be happy to conede but said "thankfully" the goals they have let in have been "all different."

He said that they "have to work on all the different things" but noted it as "quite difficult" to work on "[direct] free-kicks or deflected passes in defence", the nature of West Ham's two goals.

Klopp added that "the most important thing", "especially" from his personal perspective, is that "in absolutely most of the situations" the Reds are "really good in defending."

He noted that they had "a little bit of a problem" at the back against the Hammers, but called it "a clear rule" that his players are "responsible for the good things" and the manager himself is "responsible for the bad things."

Klopp referred back to his pre-match meeting with his team, in which he spoke "a little bit about striking back and showing a reaction", which he felt Liverpool did to score a "wonderful" goal.

But he mentioned how they were "really too offensive" after going 1-0 up and "had nearly no protection" defensively, which "let them [West Ham] come back a little bit in the game" even though they didn't create an abundance of chances.

He added: "The goals were different, but it looked like we feel we are only good when we can make high pressure. But that's not the truth, we did it differently already."

More attacking personnel down to our recent counter-attacking issues, suggests Reds boss

Delving deeper into the root cause of his side's problems, he acknowledged it is "a little bit about formation" because they "played with three real strikers" in Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane.

He noted the absence of the injured Philippe Coutinho, insisting that his role on the left of the front three meant he "was very often like a central midfielder or a 'No.8' when he came in the middle" and that meant "when you misplace a pass from there or lose the ball" then they "already have a formation for the counter-press."

But with Origi, Mane and Firmino up top, Klopp believes they "have too many players in the first line" when they lose possession, calling it "a little bit too risky" although they "still create chances with this" system.

Klopp added that it is this that Liverpool "have to adapt now" because they "know already what we have to work on" - insisting that it "doesn't mean it works immediately" even though they are aware, which is why "you concede these kind of goals."

Klopp: We could have done better in West Ham's box

The Liverpool manager also felt that his charges' decision-making inside the West Ham box let them down.

He further explained that they were "still in the game" even when they went 2-1 down, insisting Liverpool were "the clear better team" and had created "a lot of chances."

Klopp also said that the home side had "four of five situations" in which they could have been awarded a penalty, though said they "cannot think too much about this" and should instead focus on the fact they "draw with a big part of the game a good performance" in "a very difficult game" against a "highly-motivated West Ham."

He continued to say that Liverpool's job was made harder by their opponents' desire to think "more about defending than attacking", lamenting that the game felt they "were always in their box" but without any end product.

"We could have done better there but how can you get used to being in the box of the other team against West Ham with that many legs defending?" questioned Klopp.

He felt his side did "the right thing" to "force these situations" but did not have "enough for it" and "could have done better" to make more of their chances.

The boss continued: "In the crossing position inside the box, we never forced an own goal with a hard pass between the goalkeeper and their last line [of defence]. We were always trying to find our free players [with a cutback]."

Klopp stated that there "a lot of things to analyse" coming out of the game but "cannot make the biggest analysis" with the Boro clash coming so soon after, declaring that instead they "have to adjust, do a few things and make little changes."

"It's kind of similar, kind of different," Klopp added looking towards the opponents ahead, insisting that they have already analysed Middlesbrough and their "style of play."

He said that in general they have "a lot of work to do" but are "still on a good way" because they "should have won" even though it "cost us five points", concluding: "It's our mistakes. Let's carry on, take the good things and sort the not-so-good things."

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