Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged he was forced to tinker with his side’s tactics this season and admits it has affected their attacking flair.
Liverpool won the Merseyside derby on Sunday thanks to a 96th-minute goal by Divock Origi,
Klopp’s side is the only team that has been able to keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City’s blistering start to the season, yet there is a perception that they have failed to reach the heights of last season.
Gritty wins have replaced high scoring routs for Liverpool in recent weeks, yet Klopp has told Sky Sports that the balance of his side has been altered in a bid to find a winning formula.
“A lot of teams saw that we were good at that and realised they were overplaying,” said Klopp. “If the team gives us the opportunity to do it we will still be there with the counter-press, but very often it is not possible.
“A lot of teams also play counter-attack against us. They don’t have the same respect for us that they have for Man City, for example. Against City, you watch it and wonder what they are doing. A week later they play us and they are thinking, right, let’s try. City deserve that but it makes a big difference because we have to be 100 per cent concentrated all the time.
“It means that now we have to control more games. We have to keep the ball, especially against counter-attacking sides. That may change in the second part of the season when opponents who are down the table need the points and so they will need to open up a bit more. But at this moment we have to control games and be patient but in a very lively way.
“This was a big part of our thinking in pre-season as well. We really said that. It’s like we were so lively in the past that the moment we couldn’t be lively because there was no space for that it was like there was immediately this drop in concentration. That is not allowed. I like it more now actually. It is more mature. That was the next step for us. So far so good.”
Klopp is convinced his side will rediscover their attacking sparkle sooner rather than later, as he suggested they have lacked a prolific touch in front of goal.
“We have created many more than we have used,” he added. “That’s the nature of the thing. I have no problem with that. Yes, there is one team that has scored a lot more than us but the rest are on the same level and there will be games when the boys are flying.
“Those games will come. I am 100 per-cent sure of that. We have already been really close in a lot of situations but right now we just need to get results.”