Jurgen Klopp seemed to sound a relieved tone after a scoreless draw with Manchester United at Anfield.
If that surprises you, you’re not alone, but let’s really think about Liverpool’s day.
Boasting a long unbeaten run at home but in a poor run overall and. looking up at their Premier League rivals, Klopp started two of his better midfielders at center back in one of the biggest games of the Premier League calendar.
What happened? The Reds were superior to their rivals for most of the match, would’ve had it sealed by halftime with better finishing, and weather two brief late storm to take a point via clean sheet thanks largely to Fabinho and goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
So, yes, relief: Klopp knows his team mostly bossed a rival during a poor run of form, and that rival is now winless in five matches versus Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, and Spurs. His team is unbeaten against the same group.
Liverpool’s poor finishing a temporary worry for Klopp
On a video conference call after the game, ProSoccerTalk asked Klopp about Liverpool’s goalscoring issues as they’ve now failed to score in three-straight Premier League games for the first time since 2005.
Has anything been fundamentally different in their attack?
“No. Nothing fundamentally different. It is just that the result is different. We try and we don’t score, or we try and we score. That’s the big difference, to be honest. He [Jordan Henderson] is right, we don’t have to worry about it but we have to work on it. It is not like we ignore the fact and just hope it will be good again,” Klopp said.
“The only possibility you have to score goals is to create situations and to be ready to fail, and to do it again. There is a massive difference between when you are flying and you score with each chance you have, because then you deal with the missed chance better. It is just information: ‘Oh worked out, we can’t do it like this.’ That is the difference. Nothing else. I saw my team playing tonight and I saw a really good football team with a clear idea, with super passes, great counter-press, great desire to score. And we didn’t score. We will create chances and we will score.
“Now we face Burnley on Thursday and they are not famous for conceding an awful lot of goals and a few days later we play again against United who obviously defend with all they have. So it’s not that we just decide ‘from now on we want to score again and we will do it.’ I see the boys in the situation and I will help as much as I can that we can change it as quick as possible.”
As for this drought, now standing at 348 minutes of Premier League play?
The Reds scored in the 12th minute of their draw with West Bromwich Albion and did not find the net in the remaining 78 minutes before being blanked by Newcastle and Saints.
Liverpool out-attempted West Brom 17-5, Newcastle 11-8, and Saints 16-7, holding 78, 74, and 68 percent possession in those games.
The numbers Sunday? Liverpool had 65 percent of the ball and a 17-8 edge in shots against arguably (probably?) the best team of the bunch.
Fabinho and Henderson get job approval from the Klopp
Those aforementioned midfielders at center back, by the way? It helps to have Thiago Alcantara in front of them, but Fabinho was very good and Jordan Henderson didn’t kill them.
And Klopp think it aided the game as a whole.
“The football was probably better,” he said. “It was really flexible with two midfielders in the back line and it helped in football moments. We were good enough to get all three points but we didn’t because we didn’t score.”
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Next up for the Reds? Burnley and Tottenham with an FA Cup tie against the Red Devils in between.
Our take? Klopp knows a loss to United would’ve sent a bad message both to his team and the rest of the league. He isn’t genuinely worried about United but knows that City is coming and that the fixture congestion won’t end any time soon.