Liverpool are still adjusting to life without Virgil van Dijk, but manager Jurgen Klopp was quite pleased following his side’s 2-1 victory over Sheffield United, in which he felt the Reds were “a bit too hectic at the start” before settling in and controlling the game en route to three points.
Jurgen Klopp will have to work out a handful of different ways to win games this season if Liverpool are to retain the Premier League title, which makes Saturday’s result a massive feather in the cap of their title defense — quotes from the BBC:
“We were a bit too hectic at the start. We had four offensive players on the pitch but all offered the same option. But I love halftime. The second half started good and for 20 to 25 minutes we were really good. We could have scored more and then they came back.
“We had to dig deep, but the boys did. It’s nice to win 2-0 or 3-0 every game but that only happens if, in games like this, we are ready to fight hard. On nights like this you earn the right to win the others like that.”
“The penalty was not even a foul. During a season there are so many different periods, we have had an injustice and we have had to go again. I love these games, as you earn all of the rest. You earn the easier games when it all goes your way on nights like this”
It’s not just the defense which will have to adjust in Van Dijk’s absence, but also the rest of the team in terms of how they defend as an 11-man unit, as well as how and where they win the ball and launch counter-attacks. A bit more on that, from PST’s recap of Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United:
This is the knock-on effect of sitting deeper defensively and taking fewer chances out of possession: Liverpool won’t win the ball nearly as high up the field, not nearly as often at least, which means they’ll face recovered and properly positioned defenses far more than they’re used to seeing.