Soccer-Leaky Liverpool may have to learn how to defend differently, says Klopp

(Reuters) – Liverpool are conceding too many similar goals in their games this season and players may need to ‘go back to basics’ to tighten defenses to get back to winning ways, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Monday.

Famed for their counter-pressing style which helped Liverpool last season on all four fronts, Klopp’s side have conceded goals this term and kept just two clean sheets in all competitions.

A 3-3 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion dropped Liverpool to ninth in the Premier League and Klopp said they needed to emerge from the crisis in a similar way to what they did two years ago when they lost several defenders to injuries.

“When you see a problem and think you have the solution, you expect the solution to be immediate and influential, that’s never the case in football,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League group stage game against Rangers .

“We’ve conceded similar goals now, they’ve gone through the same gaps. The problem we have is a brave type of defence… If the timing in our defense isn’t perfect, we’re too open. So yeah, we need to be more compact.

“Defending is an art and has worked very well for us for a long time. But when it’s not working you realize you have to go back to basics… We can’t always start over. If we can help the lads with ways to defend ourselves differently, we must do this.

Liverpool have won just three games this season and Klopp compared the squad’s crisis of confidence to that of Cristiano Ronaldo, whose form waned and resulted in the Manchester United striker being benched.

“Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo is at the peak of his confidence at the moment? That happens to all of us. Lionel Messi last season (at Paris St. Germain) – quite similar,” added Klopp.

“You have to take a step in the right direction and when you’re ready, it’ll be back … We have to be patient again to do the right thing and then we’ll be fine.”

Rangers lost their two group games without scoring to end up bottom of Group A and Klopp said he expected the Scottish side, who lost the Europa League final on penalties last season, to come back after the 4-0 league win against Hearts on Saturday.

“Good football team, well trained. They had an exceptional season in Europe last season,” said Klopp.

“I watched the last game against Hearts… We’re expecting a decent fight and we’re preparing for that.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christain Radnedge)

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