Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised his defence for the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United last weekend and insisted that his side must show an immediate response against Watford on Saturday. The defeat has left us fourth in the table with Tottenham Hotspur winning 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday.
United striker Romelu Lukaku bullied defender Dejan Lovren while Marcus Rashford scored twice in the first-half at Old Trafford to earn all three crucial points.
Klopp says his team should have dealt with the big Belgian well but failed to do so and paid the price for their fourth defeat of this Premier League campaign.
“We have to respond, 100 percent,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“But in the moment I cannot, and I don’t want to, think about anything else. I still have to work to swallow this one and it’s quite difficult.”
The Liverpool boss lamented the errors that led to Rashford’s brace in the first half at Old Trafford but insisted that our second half showing should have at least brought us a point.
“It’s really difficult to take. The mistakes were obvious – around the second balls we were not there and we cannot leave Dejan alone in the challenge there and nobody’s around for the second ball. It doesn’t work like this,” our gaffer told the club’s official website.
“Romelu Lukaku is strong in these challenges, so if you cannot avoid the long ball then you have to be there to help your mate for the second ball. We didn’t, so that was the problem around the two goals [and] they could use these situations.
“Before the two goals, after the two goals, I thought we were dominant. We don’t ignore the goals we conceded, but if you ignore them for a second you would say, ‘OK, that’s how you have to play’.
“Don’t take too much risk, you pass, you come around the touchline, you have the crosses, you have the set-pieces, you have the finishes from distance, 18 yards, all these things. We had these things in pretty much all moments, but we didn’t score.
“Because we put pressure on ourselves obviously, that is not helpful for your confidence if you are 2-0 down at Manchester. So we passed, crossed a few balls that were not too good but [then] we found our way back on track minute by minute and second half we chased the game really.
“I think we deserved the goal and then it was the situation with the best piece of football in the whole game, the one-two between Roberto and Sadio and a clear foul and no penalty. That’s hard, but not to change anymore.
“I think with all the minutes around the two goals we conceded then a draw would have been deserved for us, but because we made these two mistakes we have to take the result like it is.
“It feels massively rubbish and that’s not nice. We will carry on of course, but at the moment it’s a big disappointment.”
It was indeed frustrating to see our defence fall apart in the first half at Old Trafford. For all the work Lovren has done in the last few months, he was once again exposed aerially and Klopp seriously needs to address the problem.
Our gaffer has done an unbelievable job with the team’s attack but the main concern lies in our defence, despite spending heavily on Virgil van Dijk in January.