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Jury is still out for Jurgen Klopp's defence at Liverpool

by 13/08/2017 19:15:00 0 comments 1 Views

By Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:31 EDT, 13 August 2017 | Updated: 19:15 EDT, 13 August 2017

As Jurgen Klopp turned his thoughts towards Hoffenheim, he confessed there were no gua-rantees about ending the set-piece chaos which is blighting Liverpool.

The same old problem was there at Watford when two goals were conceded from corners, including the last-gasp equaliser. It sparked another inquest on the perils of zonal marking and the need for better defenders.

'It happened to us last year,' said Klopp. 'It's not about one player. One player cannot sort out the set-piece problem for Liverpool.  

The jury is still out for Jurgen Klopp's defence after Liverpool's  set-piece defending at Watford
The jury is still out for Jurgen Klopp's defence after Liverpool's  set-piece defending at Watford

The jury is still out for Jurgen Klopp's defence after Liverpool's set-piece defending at Watford

Stefano Okaka opened the scoring when he towered above the defence to nod in a corner
Stefano Okaka opened the scoring when he towered above the defence to nod in a corner

Stefano Okaka opened the scoring when he towered above the defence to nod in a corner

Miguel Britos's last-gasp equaliser, again from a set-piece, snatched victory from the Reds
Miguel Britos's last-gasp equaliser, again from a set-piece, snatched victory from the Reds

Miguel Britos's last-gasp equaliser, again from a set-piece, snatched victory from the Reds

'We have to defend better. Yes, we did wrong and what do I want to do to sort it? Buy a new player? I'm not sure if that makes sense.'

Despite last season's fourth place and a return to the Champions League, doubts are beginning to surface about the substance behind Klopp's charisma.

The start of this season may mark the end of the Klopp honeymoon as football's high-profile Scousers sharpen their criticism.

Two-one down, and Jamie Carragher branded the defending a 'shambles'. 'You've had pre-season and nothing's changed,' he said. 'What have they worked on?'

Joey Barton told radio listeners he was 'not buying the Klopp aura' and dismissed him as a 'giant German cheerleader'.  

Despite last year's success, doubts are surfacing about the substance behind Klopp’s charisma
Despite last year's success, doubts are surfacing about the substance behind Klopp’s charisma

Despite last year's success, doubts are surfacing about the substance behind Klopp's charisma

Watford boss Marco Silva has certainly found Liverpool's weakness and others will study his success as they seek to do the same.

At Hull, Silva beat Liverpool 2-0 in February: one from a corner and another on the break as Klopp's team over-committed in search of a way back. On Saturday, his team scored from two corners. 

Stefano Okaka bullied the visitors in the first half, burying a header without challenge. Miguel Britos equalised with a header in the third minute of added time, which should have been ruled out for offside but wasn't. 

Watford's other goal, the second, scored by Abdoulaye Doucoure, came via a throw-in on the right. Again, there was a case for offside. Again, the defending was careless. Again, Liverpool's defenders were devoid of protection.  

But going forward Liverpool looked sharp, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scoring
But going forward Liverpool looked sharp, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scoring

But going forward Liverpool looked sharp, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scoring

And Roberto Firmino looked creative and energetic for the Reds all afternoon on Saturday
And Roberto Firmino looked creative and energetic for the Reds all afternoon on Saturday

And Roberto Firmino looked creative and energetic for the Reds all afternoon on Saturday

SUPER STAT 

Sadio Mane has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League games. 

Going forward, they have pace, energy and creative force even with Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana injured, and the uncertain future of Philippe Coutinho.

Sadio Mane struck first, Roberto Firmino converted a penalty and Mohamed Salah had a tap-in.

Success this season will hinge on Klopp's ability to solve the problems at the back, however, and provide the solidity to ensure the efforts of his attacking stars are not wasted. The next game comes quickly, a Champions League play-off at Hoffenheim on Tuesday. 

But success this season will hinge on Klopp’s ability to solve the problems at the back
But success this season will hinge on Klopp’s ability to solve the problems at the back

But success this season will hinge on Klopp's ability to solve the problems at the back

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