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Klopp discusses reasons behind Liverpool’s recent defensive fragility

Jurgen Klopp has opened up on Liverpool’s defensive fragility this season and says his side have to ‘go back to basics’.

Last season’s runners-up currently sit ninth in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of early league leaders Arsenal, following their 3-3 draw with Brighton at the weekend.

 

The Reds have only kept two clean sheets in their nine outings in all competitions this season, with Klopp’s side looking particularly vulnerable at the back in a number of games.

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has borne the brunt of criticism for his part in some of the goals Liverpool have conceded of late, though the usually rock solid Virgil van Dijk has also looked a long way from his best performances.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League clash against Rangers on Tuesday evening, Klopp said that his side have always had a ‘brave’ style of defending, suggesting that some of their defensive issues are due to there being less pressure on the ball further up the field.

“We concede now similar goals, let me say it like this, where they go through the same gaps,” he told the media at his pre-match press conference.

“The special problem we have is that we have a really brave way of defending usually and when the timing in our defending is not perfect then we leave a gap open. That was always the case, by the way, but because of the pressure we made on the boy on the ball, nobody really recognised it because we closed it with intensity. If you don’t do that then this gap is open for a short moment. And Brighton used it quite often, passed the ball through our gap in between the lines where they could turn and these kind of things, and that makes it tricky.

“We have to be more compact, we have that in our mind, we know that. But in the moment when it’s going well you do it and then you do it again but timing is still not right.

“Defending is kind of an art and it worked for us really long, really well, but when it’s not working out anymore you realise step by step how much you have to go back to the basics that you defend solid again.“

Asked if he had a quick fix to his side’s defensive issues, he said: “No, we don’t have the time. Is there a quick fix? Yes, we can improve, we can play exactly the same and do better – that’s already a fix. So that’s how it is, timing gets better.

“But how I said, if we can do something, we will do that as well to make it easier for the boys. That’s it. That’s actually always the job. How I said, it’s the same job I have in the time when you win 10, 12 times in a row – it doesn’t happen very often but you have to stay on top of it, work on details, all these kind of things. That’s what we do now, just with a different confidence level, so that’s how it is.

“Usually in the time when you win a lot of games, not everything is going your way in the game but there’s no impact. Lose the ball, they have a chance, whatever, that happens, Ali makes an insane save, probably then we made a mistake before and nobody has [it] in his mind.

“That’s different in the moment and that’s where we have to get to. We have to increase the amount of good moments and decrease the amount of not-so-good moments because that’s how you get out of every situation in life until you can make mistakes again without being as impactful as they are in the moment.”

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