Belfast Telegraph

I have a plan to get Liverpool back on track, says Klopp


By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists their current problems are being over-exaggerated and he already has a plan of action to turn around a frustrating week.

Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Burnley last week, the Reds boss saw a much-changed side crash out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday against Leicester - whom they face again in the Premier League tomorrow.

Liverpool have conceded the first goal in their last four matches, resulting in two draws and two defeats, and that has been compounded by an inability to convert a significant number of chances in all those games.

Defensive concerns have increased with Dejan Lovren unable to train this week due to a bad back and fellow central defender Joel Matip struggling with a knock, highlighting how the failure to sign Southampton's Virgil van Dijk could come back to haunt Liverpool.

But Klopp believes the situation is not as bad as is being portrayed.

"It sounds like we have no points and are the worst team in the league," he said. "Yes, we have problems, that is why we 'only' have eight points and not 15. We can make it more serious than it is or we can take it like it is.

"I understand 100 per cent (why) we sit here and talk about the things that have happened.

"I know already about all these problems - or 'non-problems' - and I've made my decision already how to work with it, but if I talk a lot about it I only create headlines, 'Klopp says this. Klopp says that' and it doesn't help us.

"We have work to do, but that would be the same if we had 15 points, only it would feel different.

"We conceded first against Sevilla and responded well, we conceded first against Burnley and responded well.

"I would prefer not to concede the first goal to be honest."

After their struggles to get games they have dominated over the line, questions have been asked about whether Klopp has the right characters in his squad.

There are no longer the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher present to rally the players and, while the Reds boss is happy with what he has at his disposal, he sees no reason why it is not an area they can work on.

"Yes, we have the right characters. Yes, sometimes we react really well, sometimes we don't react perfectly," he added.

"That is how it always is and we can improve on each part of our game.

"As long as we stay in the game, as long as we do what we are good at, we are a threat for each team."

Klopp has, meanwhile, come to the defence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the summer signing was criticised following his first start for the club.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had a night to forget in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Leicester, missing one opportunity to put Klopp's side ahead and making several clumsy touches.

Klopp was unaware, if not surprised, that Oxlade-Chamberlain's display was heavily scrutinised, but suggested the former Arsenal player may still need time to adapt and may have felt the effects of a long-standing calf injury.

"Ox had a few really good situations and a few unlucky situations. I thought he did well in the moments you could see he was trying to adapt to the style of play," he said. "He had a little problem with the calf, not an injury but a little problem. We all need to get used to this and manage it.

"It was his first game from the start but I can imagine how tough it was. He didn't play the best game of his life so people probably ask, 'What impact can he have?' But I'm not in doubt about this."

Belfast Telegraph

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