Jürgen Klopp insists he won't pack in his philosophy of going all-out on the attack despite Liverpool's ongoing struggles at the back.
Liverpool's sorry defensive figures
Klopp's side have gone four games without a win and crashed out of the EFL Carabao Cup, suffering a demoralising 2-0 reverse to Leicester earlier this week.
The Reds have conceded 10 goals during that spell – five times what the top two sides Manchester United and City have conceded and only marginally better than West Ham and Everton, the teams with the worst defensive figures in the Premier League.
Liverpool's issues at the back
Liverpool’s back four have come in for a lot of flak for problems which were evident last season but don’t seem to have been dealt with during the pre-season. There is a clear lack of concentration when the ball goes out of play – and particularly from corners. That was highlighted when Watford were gifted a stoppage-time equalizer on the opening day of the league and in the recent Champions League meeting with Sevilla when Liverpool’s defence were caught snoozing from a throw-in.
The team’s positioning at set-pieces has been questioned since last season – too often, Liverpool have too many bodies inside the six-yard box, restricting the keeper’s movement, and yet still opponents are left unmarked to gleefully accept free attempts on goal.
Klopp's Liverpool not competitive enough
Whether it’s a lack of communication at the back, Mignolet or Karius not commanding their area with suffient authority, players switching off, nerves, zonal marking gone wrong... or a combination of all of those things, Klopp won’t have a bad word said about his defence – or face home truths that maybe his team, compared to say, Sevilla, are simply not competitive enough.
Klopp responded today to claims that his commitment to all-out attack leaves the team too exposed. And there enthusiasm in the hunt to add to the scoreline makes them vulnerable. Compare that to Mourinho’s United, who slam down the shutters and kill the game off as soon as they are ahead. Not always quite so entertaining, but much more effective.
Liverpool return to Leicester in the Premier League tomorrow and Klopp made it clear he will not allow his players to start adopting a more conservative approach. “In the beginning it was so nice, how fluent we are, how creative we are. We are still fluent and still creative but we don't score, so it's a big problem”, he told reporters on the eve of the game. “If you would ask me what would you prefer: 'Do you want your team perfect in defending set-pieces but don't know how to play football or would you prefer the other way round? I still would take this second one.
“In the moment it feels like we solved it but in the situation you can see again we are back to old patterns or how we did it a few weeks before. What we have at the moment because of the situation is that everybody wants to help where the first ball is”, Klopp continued. “We come too close together in the situation where the first ball is going after a throw-in and it means for the second ball we don't have a good formation. We need to get more natural in these things because it's not that difficult to be honest but it happens too often”.