Even Van Dijk couldn't solve Liverpool's defensive issues, says Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Virgil Van Dijk would not have been a quick fix to his side's defensive woes that raised their heads again during the draw with Sevilla.
A Dejan Lovren mistake allowed Wissam Ben Yedder to score just five minutes into Liverpool’s return to the Champions League but goals from Roberto Firmino, who also missed a penalty, and Mohamed Salah appeared to have put them in control.
However, with 18 minutes to go the defence switched off and Joaquin Correa equalised and, to compound Liverpool’s frustration, Joe Gomez was sent off in added time for a second bookable offence.
Klopp was left to rue more defensive mistakes, a trait which has troubled him since he arrived at the club in October 2015, but insists there is no quick fix and rejected suggestions that the problem would have been eradicated had they signed primary transfer target Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds were forced to publicly withdraw their interest in the £65m-rated Dutch centre-back — who Southampton refused to sell — after a tapping-up row but the boss said the issue was more complex than that.
“I know you are always looking for this thing — the defence was always something being talked about, ‘We didn’t sign this or that’,” he said.
“If these problems could be solved by one player you can imagine we would have put all our money into it and say, ‘Let’s do this’. It is about being dominant and losing the grip a bit on the game that you are not in all the defensive moments.
“There is space for improvement. We need to learn to be dominant and not give easy goals. It is disappointment, frustration, but that is completely normal. We are responsible for the very good parts in the game and also the not-so-good parts so you have to feel disappointed after a game like this.
“It is not a general defending problem but we have to improve 100 per cent.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital