De­fen­sive woes leave Klopp fum­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Liver­pool

Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp be­moaned his team’s de­fense and lack of com­po­sure after it fell be­hind in the Pre­mier League ti­tle race with a 2-2 draw at home to strug­gling West Ham on Sun­day.

Divock Origi scored for the fourth con­sec­u­tive match after Dar­ren Ran­dolph’s mis­take to save a point for the frail Reds, who are sit­ting third, six points be­hind leader Chelsea.

Liver­pool goal­keeper Loris Kar­ius last week gifted Bournemouth a win­ner and Klopp’s men — so good go­ing for­ward and perched atop the league last month — are be­ing reg­u­larly un­der­mined by their de­fen­sive fail­ings.

Kar­ius’ po­si­tion­ing for West Ham mid­fielder Dim­itri Payet’s equal­izer, which can­celed out Adam Lal­lana’s opener, was ques­tion­able.

Michail An­to­nio then cap­i­tal­ized on a Joel Matip mis­take to put the visi­tor up 2-1 be­fore Origi’s for­tu­itous 48thminute strike.

Klopp was hardly con­vinc­ing in his de­fense of 23-yearold Ger­man stop­per Kar­ius, say­ing he had “no idea” whether the sum­mer pickup from Mainz was at fault on Payet’s free kick be­cause he had only seen it once.

But Klopp was clearly not happy with the way Liver­pool was opened up by the Ham­mers at An­field.

“Nearly ev­ery­body was in­volved in our of­fen­sive sit­u­a­tions and we had two cen­ter­backs and some­times Hendo (Jor­dan Hen­der­son) be­hind the ball, and nearly ev­ery­body else the other side,” the man­ager.

“We had a prob­lem with sec­ond balls, but not too of­ten. The goals (we con­ceded) weren’t in sit­u­a­tions like that but we let the game go a lit­tle bit away in these mo­ments, we were not com­pletely in con­trol like we could have been.”

Klopp said on cur­rent form it will be dif­fi­cult to catch red­hot Chelsea, which has won its last nine league matches and looks like the team to beat.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to stay in the race with Chelsea when they win ev­ery­thing,” he said, call­ing on his team to show a calmer de­meanor.

“This is the mo­ment to col­lect as many points as pos­si­ble. The way to get a real topflight team is for the play­ers to make the right de­ci­sions and stay cool.”

Mean­while, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has prob­lems of his own.

The Croa­t­ian was pleased with earn­ing a point, which saw his team climb out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone. But the Ham­mers have not won in six matches and the pres­sure is mount­ing.

Re­flect­ing on Lal­lana’s fifth-minute opener, Bilic said: “After we lost our last game 5-1 against Arse­nal and after a start here that couldn’t be worse, we ex­pect the con­fi­dence to drop.

“But we showed a great re­ac­tion after the goal. Par­tic­u­larly in the first half, I was pleased.

“I was pleased with the char­ac­ter over the 90 min­utes, but in the first half we showed we could hurt them.”

LEE SMITH / REUTERS

Liver­pool goal­keeper Loris Kar­ius fails to stop a free kick by West Ham United’s Dim­itri Payet dur­ing their 2-2 Pre­mier League draw at An­field on Sun­day.

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