Liverpool are conceding too many similar goals in their matches this season and the players may need to get “back to basics” to tighten the defence to return to winning ways, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Monday.
Famed for their counter-pressing style which helped Liverpool compete on all four fronts last season, Klopp’s side have leaked goals this season and kept only two clean sheets in all competitions.
A 3-3 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion dropped Liverpool to ninth in the Premier League standings and Klopp said they would have to come out of the crisis in a similar way to when they lost several defenders to injuries two seasons ago.
“When you spot a problem and think you have the solution, you expect the solution to be instant and influential, that’s never the case in football,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League group game against Rangers.
“We’ve conceded similar goals now, they have gone through the same gaps. The problem we have is a brave way of defending… When the timing in our defending isn’t perfect we’re too open. So yes, we have to be more compact.
“Defending is an art and it worked for us really well for a long time. But with it not working, you realise you have to go back to the basics… We can’t always start anew. If we can help the boys with ways to defend differently, we have to do that.”
Liverpool have won only three games this season and Klopp compared the squad’s crisis in confidence to that of Cristiano Ronaldo, whose form tapered off and led to the Manchester United forward being benched.
“Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment is at the top of his confidence? It happens to all of us. Lionel Messi last season (at Paris St Germain) – pretty much the same,” Klopp added.
“You have to take a step in the right direction and when you’re ready, it’s back… We have to be patient again to do the right thing and then we will be fine again.”
Rangers lost both their group games without scoring to sit bottom of Group A and Klopp said he expects the Scottish side — who lost the Europa League final on penalties last season — to be pumped up after Saturday’s 4-0 league victory over Hearts.
“Good football team, well coached. They had an exceptional season in Europe last season,” Klopp said.
“I saw the last game against Hearts… We expect a proper fight and that is what we prepare for.”