There are countless times we can remember when managers of larger Premier League sides have drawn or lost to an ultra-defensive team and then ridiculed the opposition’s style of play.
Jose Mourinho (ironically) termed the phrase ‘bus parking’ during his first stint at Chelsea to describe the anti-football tactics he felt were plaguing the league and making for boring contests, but following Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Southampton (zero shots on target), Jurgen Klopp revealed a very different attitude.
Why would Southampton be stupid enough to give Liverpool space having seen what we’ve done to teams all season?!
What a fantastic (and fair) attitude to have. Klopp knows Liverpool played well enough to win, but also appreciates Southampton, who lose their best players every summer, needed to come up with a tactic to get something from the afternoon.
“We watched them in other games and they were more offensive but it’s not about them having respect [for us] or something,” the German told the Independent. “Everybody wants to win. We play this kind of football so it would be crazy for them give us space, so why should they do so? That’s what we have to work on and it’s our job to do it.
“There is nothing to moan about. You can’t ask them: ‘Come on, give us a little more space’ or something. Before the season we had to work on this and until now that is what I meant when I say we are happy with the performance. Because again we did well, we came through. It isn’t a game where you have 20 chances, we had four or five. That is more than enough especially how big those chances were.”
Next weekend a rejuvenated Sunderland travel to Anfield, and if we thought Southampton produced a ‘backs to the wall’ performance, expect it tenfold at Anfield.
And why not? David Moyes is fighting for his life and would be delighted with a point. He has his prerogative and Liverpool have ours. Hopefully, a week on the training ground and a rested Coutinho will enable us to find an early breakthrough and control proceedings.
But make no mistake, the defensive tactics deployed against us are a compliment and not something to shy away from – just a hurdle for us to overcome.