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Klopp Focus on Team-First Approach Key to Liverpool Turnaround

According to defender Dejan Lovren, the biggest change under new manager Jürgen Klopp has been a focus on the team ahead of the individual in training.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A loss to Newcastle United may have been disappointing, but it was a rare early misstep for new Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who in only two months at Anfield has overseen a remarkable turnaround. There's a long way to go yet, but that Liverpool have looked a far improved side under the charismatic German is impossible to deny.

"We have only been working with him a short time, barely two months, and we have already had some good results with him," was defender Dejan Lovren's take on it. "With time it will be better. With his methods and his way of working, I don't see how it cannot be better. We will know him more and he will know us more and he will also have a better understanding of the league and the club."

Liverpool's struggles against Newcastle were at least in part down to personnel, as Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke failed to work as a strike partnership. The duo sought to occupy the same spaces—€”one as a false nine and one as a more traditional one—and in the end they essentially marked each other out of the game, saving Newcastle a great deal of work and blunting Liverpool's attack.

It was a problem for Liverpool, but it's one that can be fixed—or at the very least worked around—moving forward. It's a chance for Klopp to learn the hard way, and it won't be the last one as he further acclimatizes to his new club and new league, as the manager seeks to develop a team-based vision for the club, in contrast to departed manager Brendan Rodgers' focus on the individual.

"We are doing a lot of team work, not so much individual," Lovren added. "Maybe there is more one-to-one work with some of the young players but we will definitely look at things as a team. When he shows us footage or talks us through an exercise, he will look at it in terms of the whole team. Of course you know when he is talking about you, but usually it's within the context of the team."

Liverpool will get their chance to show they've learned from the disappointment of Newcastle, as a team, when they face FC Sion in the Europa League on Thursday with a chance to secure first in their group. Following the mid-week match, they host West Brom at Anfield on Sunday.

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