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Jürgen Klopp Sees “Space for Improvement” Following Defensive Miscues

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Turns out conceding three goals wasn’t the plan!

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-LEEDS Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool were good enough to beat Leeds yesterday. That’s nice.

But it was hard to escape the feeling that things were a little loose at the back. It felt like we should’ve had things locked down better. When Leeds attacked, it was a little too easy for them to turn a situation into a good chance, and then a goal.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, however, doesn’t think there’s too much cause for concern.

“I didn’t really see us struggling defensively, it’s just the way they play, you cannot defend it 100 per cent all of the time”, the Evening Standard report the Liverpool manager as saying.

“The goals we conceded, the first goal, both full-backs were deeper than the centre-halves and that should never happen in football, actually. But then you need the opponent to use this situation and they did.

“The second goal I think was a misunderstanding between Virgil [van Dijk] and Ali[sson Becker]. Things like this can happen – should not, but they can – and I don’t think we will see these situations very often when these two boys are not exactly clear what the other one is doing.

“The third one, we changed Hendo [Jordan Henderson] I think a minute before, or not long before, so they came through. It was a throw-in, our formation was not moving and we didn’t close one gap.

“So, again, to use the situation like that you need the game plan and also the bravery of Leeds in this situation. I don’t think it was a striker if I am right, he just showed up there, got the ball and finished it off really brilliantly.”

While none of the goals individually were of huge concern to him, Klopp did admit that “we let them run, that’s true, the two midfielders could have done differently. The gap between Virgil and Joe [Gomez] was big as well. It’s defending, but it’s not an excuse, it’s just an explanation.

“The last line played for England, Holland and Scotland four days ago or whatever. All top teams but all different ways of defending, so it can happen then.

“If all these things are not really settled... people say they’ve played 500 games together, but defending is not like riding a bike, you have to work on it constantly. Like I said, [there’s] space for improvement.”

Personally I’ve always felt Liverpool look a little rusty when they haven’t played a competitive game in a while. This was one of those days. No reason to sound the alarm just yet.