Premier League • England

Klopp points to Liverpool star as perfect response to claims of worrying frailty

Jonny Whitfield
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smiling in the sun 2021

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s record this season proves that his side are not beginning to show more defensive frailty.

The Reds have looked somewhere back to their best this season following last term’s defensive nightmare. Indeed, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez have all returned to the fold.

Summer signing Ibrahima Konate is also beginning to play a bigger role as Klopp rotates his options.

However, Liverpool have let a two-goal lead slip on two occasions recently. After going into the ascendancy away at Atletico Madrid, the La Liga side came back into the Champions League contest.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Brighton recovered from early Liverpool dominance to take a point away from Anfield.

Asked if such results make Liverpool look more vulnerable, Klopp pointed to Alisson’s record of clean sheets.

While he has not kept any in the Champions League, the Brazilian has kept out five Premier League teams out so far, one fewer than Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, who leads the standings in that regard.

Klopp said: “We are not perfect, I know that and I knew that before, we have to defend situations better.

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“No doubt about that, but I don’t know how many clean sheets Ali has this season already? So we cannot make these kind of discussions always because of one game.

“We beat [Manchester] United 5-0 and the next moment, you draw 2-2 against Brighton and you have massive problems. It’s neither, nor.

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“We have to improve, that’s what we know. Against Brighton, the best way would have been to keep the ball and play the ball. That’s what we didn’t do and that was my problem.”

Klopp was speaking ahead of Liverpool’s return to action against Atletico on Wednesday.

Klopp talks Liverpool CL qualification

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp protesting to the fourth official versus Brighton 2021

The Reds can qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a win over the La Liga title holders.

Indeed, they have gained nine points out of nine so far from games against Atletico, AC Milan and Porto.

Liverpool’s 3-2 win in Madrid last time out will prove crucial and Klopp said he expects a similar game.

“It will be similar intensity. Atletico have never played a friendly game, so we should not expect that,” he said.

“It’s clear Atletico need three points, so we want to win the game. We are at home, it’s so long ago since a home game in the Champions League, AC Milan.

“We were so happy when we qualified [last season] because we would have nights like this. So we celebrate it with out supporters.”

Liverpool face Porto at home in their other remaining Champions League home game, while a trip to Milan also awaits.