Defensive woes leave Klopp fuming
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.”
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.