Jurgen Klopp claimed some players still have to get used to how he is wanting Liverpool to play – pointing to their use of new signing Darwin Nunez – after a pre-season loss to RB Salzburg.
Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat in Austria after a goal by Benjamin Sesko in the first half. It was their last fixture before the Community Shield, although there will be one more friendly after ahead of the start of the Premier League season.
Hence, there is still chance for them to go into 2022-23 on a winning note. But against Salzburg, with a rather youthful lineup, it was not to be.
Jurgen Klopp blamed the number of mistakes Liverpool made in the first half for their underwhelming result. However, he thinks there are things they can incorporate in their game to become more effective.
The manager told Liverpoolfc.com: “First half we made too many mistakes, which they could use. We had good moments as well; we could have scored obviously in the whole game like four or five goals at least. Didn’t do that because we were in the first half – if you want to talk about football – we were too open, we were too wide, we were not connected enough in moments when you lose the ball.
“Then everything is open; it’s like a motorway, and with their speed that’s how they had their chances, especially when you lose simple passes where nobody can react really. They scored their goal and the last half an hour was like a thunderstorm, we were really like a truck.
“But we didn’t finish the situations off. Obviously we should involve that in our game as well and then it will be fine.
“We played the game out of full training. We had to make a lot of changes – that’s fine, I take that. But what I can say: it’s really at least average to lose a game. That’s why we were all animated in the last situation with the possible penalty.
“In the Premier League I go definitely in the stands for the things I thought and said! But that was it now for the rest of the season with complaining about that. But in that moment it was such a clear penalty; it would have been nice if you get a result for the effort.”
Opponents Salzburg have already started their season, which made for an interesting test. Perhaps as a result, there was a competitive edge to the fixture.
Jurgen Klopp felt it was not the atmosphere of a friendly, but that went for both sides. In terms of his own, he wants to see more support for new striker Nunez.
The German tactician explained: “No, for Salzburg it was definitely no friendly. For us not as well. Salzburg had these kind of harsh challenges, but they do really well; all respect to Salzburg, they do really well. Sometimes I didn’t like the challenges too much but it’s fine, nothing happened there I think.
“How I said, first half too many mistakes. We set the boys up and it’s all fine, they can do much better and they had good moments as well.
“But especially the first half, the majority of players have to get used to what we do. Darwin was much too often alone. Everybody dropped, everybody was involved in the build-up but too wide and we could only pass the ball to Darwin in the box.
“He had his moments and nearly scored, but he needs much more support around him. You keep other players busy that they cannot focus on him. So many things.
“Second half, imagine now Darwin would have been there in the box, that would have helped as well. It is like it is – doesn’t feel great, but we take it and go from here.”
Jurgen Klopp explains how Liverpool let Salzburg in
There were plenty of lessons to learn for Liverpool’s players, young and old. Klopp knows there can be improvements, but gave some perspective of the challenge that Salzburg presented.
He said: “Yeah, it was not only the young players, we made it. All the boys can do much better; it’s not about that.
“We played in the first half against a team who might play Champions League; they have to qualify probably but they might play. And it’s a tough task for the line-up we chose.
“How I said, they do extremely well and we played in their cards. When you play football but you are not connected, you lose the ball; it means there’s always space to use for the counter-attack. And that’s what we gave them.
“And that’s what we have to learn. That’s what we know. But in the first half maybe we didn’t know it good enough and that’s why we conceded the goal.”
Liverpool will be hoping to take Klopp’s comments into account and put up a competitive performance as they aim to win the Community Shield on Saturday.
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