Klopp calls for defensive improvements from Liverpool at Porto
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Liverpool will be disappointed after they slipped up against newly-promoted Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday with a 3-3 draw. Brentford took the lead through Ethan Pinnock, before Diogo Jota levelled the game just three minutes later.
Mohamed Salah’s 100th Premier League goal for Liverpool put them ahead for the first time in the match, until Vitaly Janelt equalised for the Bees.
Curtis Jones then thought he had won it for Liverpool, until Yoane Wissa’s dinked finish over Alisson in the 83rd rescued a point for Thomas Frank’s side.
Results elsewhere worked in their favour meaning the Reds are still top of the Premier League, but Klopp’s side will be more concerned by the latest setback to one of their key defenders.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Alexander-Arnold trained with the team on Monday, but then did not get board the plane to Porto after picking up a knock in training.
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The right-back’s injury exposes a weakness Klopp must resolve in the upcoming transfer window.
Unlike their rivals – who spent big in the summer – Liverpool made just the one signing in the summer.
French central defender Ibrahima Konate joined the club from German side RB Leipzig in a move worth £36million at the start of the window.
Although Alexander-Arnold’s is not expected to be sidelined for very long, Klopp’s system relies so heavily on the creativity from his full-backs that they can’t afford to be short on cover.
Klopp himself admitted Liverpool’s defensive problems were an issue in Saturday’s draw at Brentford.
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“I think it’s really tricky to win a football game when you are not defending on your highest level, and that’s what we didn’t do,” he said.
“I know the common opinion is that we only talk about the last line, but it was not only that problem – we had a problem in general with our defending.
“That’s why Brentford caused us some problems, that’s not good.”
It is already Alexander-Arnold’s second knock this season and it is not something Liverpool will want to have to contend with going forward if they can help it.
Alexander Arnold was sidelined for a month with a calf injury last November, while he also missed out on the whole of Euro 2020 after suffering a hamstring problem.
The England defender missed the 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Anfield earlier in the season – forcing James Milner to be played out of position.
Similarly, Andrew Robertson – who operates on the opposite flank – has missed a chunk of the season already and, without either of the two, Liverpool’s defensive frailties seem to come to the forefront.
Of course, a system change is another option for Klopp, but the Liverpool boss appears to be reluctant to do that.
Hopefully Alexander-Arnold returns to action soon enough, but his absence exposes a problem which Klopp should address come January, in case of any similar event going forward.
Liverpool will play host to the Premier League champions Manchester City in the late kick-off on Sunday.
Klopp’s side will then travel to Vicarage Road to play Watford immediately following the international break on October 16.
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