So, the fancy numbers came out revealing that Liverpool are not the high-pressing juggernauts they were last season. Jürgen Klopp appears to have pulled back on the reigns a bit, given his team are joint ninth with Leicester City and Arsenal in pressing rates.
But the manager has reacted to his side’s position on the list by saying he’s done no such thing. Klopp explains that Liverpool reducing pressure on the opposition this season is down to opposing teams shutting up shop when playing the Reds.
“It’s more the case that usually against us teams don’t play,” said Klopp.
”They over-play our pressing with long balls, which makes sense. In a lot of games our counter-press has been really good which is much more important in terms of losing the ball and winning it back.
”In terms of high pressure, it depends on the style of play of the other team. You can’t do it if they don’t play. It’s not that we don’t want to do it any more. If they play then we should be there.”
Opposing teams are trying to suss out ways to stop Liverpool’s all-action style of football. Klopp is up against parked buses far more than he would like but his tactics have had to change in order to keep his team sharp to defensive teams looking for counter-attacks and launching midfield-bypassing balls over the top.
“You always have to adapt. Now we have to be focused much more on winning second balls. It’s not that they shoot a lot of long balls but they chip it over the lines.
”If we have a high formation most of the time then you need to adjust for these situations - coming from all angles and being there to support each other.
“That’s how it’s changed. It’s not been a proper plan to sit back a little bit, but we did it after being 1-0 or 2-0 up in games.
“We did sit back a bit to not give space away - that’s true. It’s a question of maturity and that’s make absolute sense.
”With the number of games we have, it’s not about chasing a game always like crazy, you have to be smart. We try to be that without killing our nature.”