Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp labels Liverpool ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and thanks star for ‘saving our backside’

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after they beat Crystal Palace, January 2022

Jurgen Klopp labelled his Liverpool side “Jekyll and Hyde” after they avoided a comeback defeat to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

The Reds went 2-0 up on their travels but were then put heavily on the back foot by the home side. A combination of defensive errors and a risky high line allowed the Eagles to relentlessly attack, but they could only manage to find one goal with their multiple chances.

After surviving the scare, Klopp searched for an answer to the mis-match performance, eventually settling on an “intense week” being behind it.

He told Sky Sports: “It was a bit Jekyll and Hyde football today. You could see how good we can be. We were incredible in the first 35 minutes.

“Then after an intense week, away at Arsenal, I don’t have any real explanation but the intensity might be one. We became sloppy in the last line.

“In the second half we were not compact, the first line pressed too high and the distance was not right. We played a high line and did not catch them offside which was our fault of course.”

The Liverpool defence faced eight goal attempts from Palace, five of which Allison was forced to save.

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A clawed-clearance towards the end of the match to deny Michael Olise’s chipped effort was the pick of the bunch and arguably the most crucial with the score then at 2-1 before a late third was added.

On his goalkeeper, Klopp added: “I said to him now, thank you for saving our backside again. He said ‘that’s my job’.

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“Of course it is very helpful to have a world-class goalkeeper at the back.”

The final goal killed the game off, but it came via a questionable penalty decision which was given after a lengthy VAR check.

“I didn’t see it back but I don’t think I have to because we thought it was and the referee did,” Klopp said of the incident.

“The Crystal Palace people did not, which I understand. It was a big three points for us. An intense period so a little breather now which helps. Then we start again.”

Klopp line towed by Van Dijk

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk heads in his goal against Crystal Palace, January 2022

Virgil van Dijk had given his side an early lead which was doubled by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He then had a lot of defensive work to do.

The Dutchman said: “It was tough. Down to us more or less. In the second half we didn’t win the right battles.

“We gave them a good feeling towards the end of the first half. In the end it was three points away from home. We knew it would be tough and it showed.”

On his second goal of the season, he added: “It was a very good corner from Andy Robertson. We practised a lot for this so important to finally get on the scoresheet again. I’m just happy to get the three points because it was a tough one.”

Liverpool are now within nine points of league leaders Man City after their draw with Southampton. And the Reds have a game in hand.

“You can’t deny it’s in your mind but as we have said many times we take it game by game,” Van Dijk continued.

“It sounds a bit boring but it is like that. We are not looking at them because there is no point. There are so many games to play.

“We focus on ourselves. This was a very important one. Hopefully we can build on it after the break.”

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