Jurgen Klopp has responded to questions regarding his side’s tendency to concede the first goal during matches this season.
Liverpool are seriously struggling for form this term and are sat ninth in the Premier League table after winning just four of their opening 12 games.
When Rodrigo put Leeds 1-0 up at Anfield on Saturday night, that was the tenth time the FA Cup champions have conceded first this season and the German tactician has attempted to explain the worrying statistic.
“I understand that you ask the question all the time but all the goals were completely different,” the 55-year-old explained (as quoted by Liverpoolfc.com). “The last goal we conceded now could not be more different to all the other goals we conceded. It was not a phase where we were down, where Leeds played around us, through us, over us, under us – everything. We set the goal up for them, so you cannot compare it.
“But yes, of course it’s concerning. But it’s not [that] we go [into] each game saying make sure we don’t concede a first goal – that’s clear anyway, [it’s] clear in football. So, it’s a clear thing. It’s not [a] self-fulfilling prophecy or whatever that you talk about it and it happens, or you don’t talk about it and it happens.
“We had other games where it didn’t happen, that’s obviously very helpful, we all know that. But I understand the question is coming up, my answer cannot really change to that. Beyond all the problems we had this season, this is one of them, of course, and maybe the one [which] leads to a lot of others. In this specific game against Leeds, it was now not the main problem because we scored the equaliser pretty quickly after that. So, from there we could have won the game, but we didn’t.”
We used to be a side that started games quickly and would sometimes have the game won in the first half, but that’s something that cannot be said this season.
When you consider that we’ve looked fragile all over the pitch and have key players like Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz sidelined through injury, falling behind is certainly not ideal.
Previously, you’d have hope that with the amount of quality we possess at the top end of the pitch that falling behind wouldn’t really matter but this season feels different.
Although we’ve struggled defensively, Klopp’s side has kept six clean sheets this term (across all competitions) but welcome high-flying Napoli to Anfield tomorrow night in the Champions League – a team that defeated us 4-1 in the reverse fixture last month.
The Italian outfit has not lost a game since April and keeping Luciano Spalletti’s side out won’t be easy.
We’re in need of a huge performance with just four games remaining before domestic football is disrupted by the Qatar World Cup next month.