Boss Jurgen Klopp has been speaking to the media ahead of our trip to Stoke City in the semi-final of the League Cup on Tuesday night.
The Echo have reported his comments, as he used the opportunity to praise Mark Hughes and offer a final word on the weekend’s horror-show against West Ham United.
“We’re in this tournament to win it – that’s our target”, said the German. “If you have the chance and you don’t try to go for it, it’s a waste of time”
“It will be hard work because Stoke are in a good moment. Mark Hughes does a brilliant job there”, he added.
Our opponents are just one point behind us in the league, and since the draw was made after our 6-1 quarter-final win over Southampton they have taken three points off Manchester City, Manchester United, and Everton.
“Maybe the biggest change in football is how Stoke play now compared to a few years ago”, Klopp said. “They have Arnautovic, Bojan, Shaqiri, Afellay. We know about the quality of Stoke. Shaqiri is a key player for them with the last pass… Arnautovic has [also] made a really good development. Now he’s scoring goals and making runs behind the line”.
Klopp also said the biggest takeaway from the West Ham loss was that we allowed too many crosses to come into the box.
“One of the biggest rules in football is you have to avoid crosses. Talking about it is easy, changing it is a bit more difficult but we have to do it”, he said. “There were 100,000 ways to deal with those moments but we didn’t take one of them. We let them make the cross”.
It is at least encouraging that Klopp has acknowledged the issue, but fixing it is a different problem. He presumably knows we suffer from a lack of height all over the pitch, so the news that 6 foot 3 Grujic could end up arriving in January instead of the summer could be the German’s doing.
The problem is really at full-back, however. Clyne and Moreno are both short and can be easily beaten at the far post by big forwards. If one of the centre backs drops back, it leaves space through the middle for players to attack crosses, which is equally problematic.
What would you do? Let us know in the comments.