Paul Doyle on 21 October 2018
Jürgen Klopp says his Liverpool team remain a work in progress but that collecting victories while developing a more balanced style augurs well for the rest of the campaign.
Liverpool are level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, having won seven and drawn two of their nine matches so far. They have achieved those results while adapting their pressing game, both to draw out defensive opponents and to make themselves more solid, resulting in only three goals being conceded in nine league games so far this season.
“You cannot win only with offensive football, it’s not possible,” said Klopp, after the 1-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday. “Because you are open and the pitch is too big for that. So you need to be organised and, on the other side, you need to create. I would love to see us do that a little bit better.”
The German said that although his team were not at their best at the weekend they at least demonstrated a solidity that enabled them to prevail thanks to the one cutting move they managed to finish. “We have created a kind of consistency in that department and that’s very important. It’s developmental. We were 1-0 and defended in a different space. Last year our big strength was high pressing and then when there were moments when [the opposition] didn’t play football, it was like ‘sorry’.
“It’s like a dog – if you don’t give him his favourite toy and you throw something else, he thinks: ‘No, I don’t want that, I want the other one.’ I want to play high press. So that’s how you develop, step by step, doing different things. Now we have to be better in the midfield press.”
Klopp said his team got their balance and intentions right at Huddersfield but let themselves down with sloppy final passes, which prevented them from scoring more goals on counterattacks.
“Here our midfield press wasn’t the problem, it was that we could have done better with the ball. It was really just the last ball – one touch. Everything was fine apart from that.”