Jurgen Klopp was quick to dampen talk of Liverpool’s defensive problems at his press conference on Tuesday.
The Reds face Atalanta at Anfield in the Champions League on Wednesday knowing a win will take them through to the next phase.
The German though was not keen on talking about that fact, even though it means he would be able to rest players for the final two group games.
“We cannot play two or three games in one. Everyone knows [the situation]. We have to play and work really hard. It’s a tough to play against. We will see who can line up,” said Klopp, who was then asked about his defence.
Klopp has had to chop and change his back four all season with injuries to the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The champions have though produced four clean sheets in seven games and Klopp was asked if they had been working on things which had led to an improvement.
Klopp said: “When would we do extra work? We’re here or we’re playing. There’s no time for extra work.
“Thank God I have a pretty smart team, the work is in the meeting room. Not a lot on training pitch.
“I really think it is funny to talk to us about defensive struggles, yes, at Villa we conceded seven goals and we won’t forget that. Before that we didn’t defend bad. We know how to defend. How the boys do it is exceptional.
“But we have to keep doing it because we have only played nine games in the Premier League and three in the Champions League.
“There are so many games to play and we will try to be as spot on as we can in specific games. Different line-ups but we cannot change that.
“The boys have to adapt immediately. Interesting situation. It’s not all worked on the pitch because the schedule doesn’t give us that time.”
Bobby has rhythm
Asked if goalscoring had taken on a more important role for Bobby Firmino, Klopp added: “I don’t know. Scoring was always important for Bobby but he is a complete footballer.
“Football is like an orchestra and if you have different people for instruments, some of them are louder but all are important for the rhythm.
“Bobby can play 12 instruments in our orchestra and is incredibly important. We can play without Bobby as well, but I like having him on the pitch.”
Firmino’s goal against Leicester on Sunday was only his second of the season and he had been coming under fire from some quarters. Criticism Klopp has labelled “ridiculous”.
“We always celebrate goals but this one was really emotional. The players read the newspapers and they saw some criticism [of Firmino],” added Klopp.