Sunday, 13 December 2015


Jurgen Klopp has identified West Brom’s strength from set-plays as Liverpool’s key concern, after watching his side struggle in dead-ball situations.

The West Midlands club arrive at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, with the 48-year-old aware of their qualities. The German spent most of Friday analysing the opponents and formulating ways to nullify their physical, direct style.

On Tony Pulis’ side, Klopp explained: "They don't do too much build-up play, so it's intensive. They defend pretty deep, pretty hard. They want set-plays in offence, not just corners but free-kicks, they want all this stuff to bring their quality through and that's what I think everybody knew before I came here.”

The Merseysiders have been more compact and harder to beat under Klopp, restricting sides to limited chances. However, they have still been vulnerable from set-pieces.

Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent, Melissa Reddy, quizzed Klopp on how the Reds could ensure that weakness would not prove decisive in the Premier League encounter.

"We should sit on [each other's] shoulders, try to get a little bit taller, things like this," he joked in response during his pre-match briefing at Anfield.

"It was not the biggest issue in the last games but of course most of the goals we [conceded] in the last few weeks were set plays, that's true.

"We have to be concentrated. How we defend set-plays is okay, it could always be better, but we have to be very, very concentrated in these situations.

"The best thing would be to avoid most of them. Of course you can't avoid all of them, but we don't have to make silly fouls wherever on the pitch because I think they take each one [as an attacking] set-play with a lot of bodies in the box and so on. It's a challenge."

Klopp was also asked about Liverpool’s struggles when dominant in possession. His charges look their best when they’re stealing the ball and speedily transitioning from defence to attack. There is less dynamism when the onus is theirs alone to dictate a game.

"We always work on that in the short time we have but of course we cannot have everything on the same level in the first moment so we have to carry on," he added.

"For all teams in the world it's the biggest challenge against deep opponents.

"I would say against Crystal Palace it's not the best example because of the result but we created a lot, we created our moments, created our chances, so I think it's a similar style of play.

"We know the way we have to go but it needs patience, it needs ideas, it needs creativity, it needs movement, it needs flexibility - everything.

"And then you need to be aware of their counter-attacks and you have to protect your own defence.

"That's football, there's no second game which is like the other one but you have all these examples and we know what to do. We have to do it, that's the thing."

Klopp was then asked if Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson, who are fit again and in contention to start, could help his side convert their possession into chances.

“It’s always good [to have them available], but I don’t think it’s possible to put this responsibility on just one or two players so it’s very important that across all parts of our offensive movements, we have many different options to play with.

"At the end you have to have players who make the decisions and can make the difference, and those two are that. It’s good to have more options, so I’m happy.”

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