Klopp unhappy with attacking play in victory over Palace

Klopp unhappy with attacking play in victory over Palace

Reds boss hails defensive resilience at Selhurst Park but feels front line struggled a touch

David Comerford

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was slightly disappointed by his side's lack of rhythm in the final third even as Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace on Monday night.

James Milner put the visitors in front with a penalty just before half-time, then Sadio Mane made the points safe with a breakaway goal at the death. 

Liverpool's game-management and defensive play was impressive, but their revered front three was some way from its brilliant best. 

"I thought we could have done better, but yes we expected Palace to be that strong and clear in their approach against us, playing a big number of long balls," Klopp said.

"I don't know a lot of defenders in the world that can defend Christian Benteke in nearly 100 percent of the situations, clear without a foul. It was very important that Virgil was there and that kind of presence, but still the ball drops and then it's a second ball.

"That was their plan as well, so it is difficult to be 100 percent clear in these situations. 

"Defensively it was absolutely OK, but I was not too happy with our offensive play.

"The rhythm was not good, timing was not good, both full-backs need to be involved much more and open up their game a little bit so we really have different options.

"They shouldn't be our No.10s but they are an option, so that was not too cool. Around the goal, we had three or four situations, good passes in small spaces around the box and in the box. We were unlucky and then there was the penalty situation. I didn't see it back; in the game it looked like [a penalty], but I cannot say more about it.

"We had the penalty, Millie scored in the best minute of the first half – and [we did] exactly the same in the second half."


Mo Salah can play much better

Mohamed Salah may have been hugely influential in the game's outcome, winning the penalty, forcing the foul which led to Aaron Wan-Bissaka's sending-off and teeing up Mane for the late second. But Klopp wants more from his star man, who was not quite as sharp as usual.

"I have nothing to say about individual performances. Mo Salah can play much better, that's 100 percent [clear], but he was really involved in both goals – decisively involved, so that’s two assists, so I am completely fine with that and it's all good.

"We have to play as a team. We can play as a team much better and that means immediately he is involved in that and that is all good. 2-0, all cool."

Liverpool reaping rewards of Van Dijk investment

Virgil van Dijk had pundits purring with a commanding display at the heart of the Liverpool defence, and Klopp feels the Dutchman is proving himself well worth his lofty £75million price tag. 

"It was really, really good," he said of Van Dijk's performance. "It's obvious. Quality costs a specific price, it's like that with cars and with a lot of things, that's why we paid it.

"Nobody thinks about it anymore and that's good because he's a player in this market, at the moment, he's at least worth it.

"We don’t know what will happen in the future [with transfer fees], but it's not important to us. He loves playing with these boys and that's the most important thing for me."