Defense has always been Liverpool’s achilles heel. Between inconsistent center backs and left backs, and unorganized set piece marking, there is always something to complain about when it comes to the club’s defensive measures. This season has only seen a marginal change in that history, with James Milner putting shift after shift in the left back position and Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip becoming the most feared pairing indeed, but no one will argue that there isn’t work to be done. There is always work to be done, honestly, but to say that the club isn’t strong in the back (at the moment) to Klopp might be testing your time.
“I heard it a few times (that Liverpool are suspect defensively) but I lose respect when people say this,” Klopp said yesterday to the Echo. “That’s not important because I do not have to respect everybody and I don’t need most of the people. I’m the coach of this team, I’m really close to them. I see all the games from quite a good perspective.”
We’ve heard something similar from the boss in the past to be sure, so few of us need to be reminded that we’re not actually there watching the day to day training. We check in with the teams once a week on match day and see the results of their work, but those are only results of being tested by new opponents. You can only prepare, after all, but never really know exactly what is ahead of you.
“We defended well against United, brilliant, and then against West Brom it was so difficult but we have no defensive problem,” Klopp continued. “We needed to be really aggressive to defend their long balls from the first moment without making fouls. That’s quite a challenge but they did brilliantly. When the ball is in the air, (Salomon) Rondon wants the ball or a foul, so Dejan and Joel were outstanding.
“When people say we have some issues with set-pieces, how can I say they are wrong? I think 70% to 80% of the goals we concede are set-pieces but they’re all different and we’re still working on it.
“It’s not the same problem we had last year, when whoever was scoring against us. I understand but I can promise we work on it. But I like it more than they all creating chances like they want to because we defend crazy.”
Klopp has always had his eye on what’s most important, and considering we are stronger defensively now than in the past, focusing on creating chances and taking advantage of the times we have the ball can be more critical. Liverpool conceded their only goal yesterday to West Brom from a set piece, unsurprisingly, as the club are never lacking in things to work on.
“I’m fine with this but only for the moment. But today I don’t care they got a goal like this. We won and it was well deserved.”
Only for this moment, Reds. Today he doesn’t care, because we won 2-1 and now share the top of the table after running them ragged with 73% possession. Tomorrow, they go back to work.