‘Have to’ - Jurgen Klopp reveals the two areas where Liverpool must still improve

Liverpool have lost just one game so far in the 2023-24 season.
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Jurgen Klopp has identified the areas his Liverpool side can still improve despite their eye-catching start to the season.

After finishing just fifth in the Premier League and failing to challenge for a piece of silverware in 2022-23, the Reds had a squad overhaul. Six senior players in captain Jordan Henderson, vice-skipper James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while midfield quartet Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch arriving.

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Despite the significant change, Liverpool have lost just once so far this term - and that was a last-gap 2-1 reverse at Tottenham after having two men sent off and a goal wrongly given offside. The Reds beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 last weekend to move within three points of Premier League leaders Spurs, while they’ve won all three of their Europa League Group E games and will move into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals should they get past Bournemouth tomorrow night.

But Klopp believes that an area that Liverpool can still improve is controlling games when ahead. It’s something they’ve not experienced too much this campaign, having fought from behind against Bourenmouth, Newcastle, Wolves, Leicester and Brighton.

The Liverpool manager said: “We had a lot of strange games, let me say it like this, where we had 10 men, fight back, turn it around, these kind of things. Controlling a game was not that often necessary. Two-nil up [today] was the situation and being completely dominant in the game, then staying in the game, keep the ball moving, stay compact, don't give them any kind of counter-attacks, corner kicks and that's the moment.

“You might remember, three or four years ago - I don't know exactly, maybe longer - when we all of sudden became slightly better, more dominant and then were leading at home and always came under pressure. Like 1-0 up meant nothing, everybody thought, 'Oh my god, 1-0... 10 minutes to go...' We were all halfway to seeing the equaliser coming and that's a situation you have to grow into.”

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Liverpool have been prolific in the final third, scoring a total of 34 goals in 14 games so far. Yet Klopp reckons that they can also raise their creativity. He added: “The boys showed wonderful signs in all aspects, all aspects really, but that's something we now have to learn again. The key positions are obviously occupied by different players than at that time, pretty much everywhere - up front, midfield, last line. If you want it's Virg, Trent, Mo and Ali - so four players and all the rest around are slightly different. That's where there is space for improvement.

“Creating without losing the compactness is pretty much the idea behind. If you have to chase a game, it's obviously a completely different task. If it's an open game then it's a different task, but if you are really in control then why should you not stay in control? The last five minutes before half-time, all of a sudden we were a bit too deep and they just could chip the balls there.

“One-on-one situation... we won the situation but then it was a corner or a throw-in, which is by the way pretty much the same for Nottingham Forest, and these are the moments where we have to improve, clearly. In creative things, you always can improve. That is always possible because the boys have a lot of potential so we have to use it fully.”

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