Klopp eyes bol­ster­ing attack not por­ous de­fence

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Jur­gen Klopp has dropped his big­gest hint yet he is ready to strengthen his Liver­pool squad in Jan­uary but on his freescor­ing attack and not his er­ror-prone de­fence. Liver­pool travel to Mid­dles­brough aim­ing for a first vic­tory in three games to reignite their Pre­mier League ti­tle hopes in the wake of a 4-3 de­feat at Bournemouth and a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham, which has seen them lose ground to their ri­vals.

Klopp has re­cently played down sug­ges­tions he will lis­ten to of­fers for Liver­pool’s out of favour Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Daniel Stur­ridge.

The Ger­man head coach seems more in­tent on keep­ing Stur­ridge and bol­ster­ing his at­tack­ing op­tions when the win­ter trans­fer win­dow opens next month, though he warned at the dif­fi­cul­ties of bring­ing in play­ers mid-sea­son.

“The win­ter trans­fer mar­ket is the most dif­fi­cult. We are al­ways look­ing,” said Klopp, who will be with­out the in­flu­en­tial Brazil­ian mid­fielder Philippe Coutinho for at least an­other month due to an an­kle in­jury.

“If you look at our bench, we’re very ex­pe­ri­enced in de­fence, and not of­fence. If the sit­u­a­tion stays like this it is clear we have open eyes.” Liver­pool en­ter the lat­est round of Pre­mier League game six points off lead­ers Chelsea, hav­ing dropped five points in their last two matches, con­ced­ing six goals in the process.

‘WE’RE ON A GOOD RUN’

Klopp is set to keep faith with Loris Kar­ius, af­ter hit­ting back at with­er­ing crit­i­cism of his goal­keeper’s dis­plays in those two games from the tele­vi­sion pun­dits and for­mer Manch­ester United de­fend­ers Gary and Phil Neville. For­mer Liver­pool de­fender Jamie Car­ragher has also used his po­si­tion as a TV pun­dit to ham­mer Kar­ius, no­tably af­ter the de­feat to Bournemouth. The Liver­pool boss will refuse to bow to mount­ing pres­sure to drop the 23-year-old, who has largely failed to im­press in mak­ing 11 ap­pear­ances since sign­ing from Ger­man side Mainz six months ago for £4.7m. Since beat­ing Wat­ford 6-1 at the start of Novem­ber, Klopp’s side have won only one of their last four league games to raise ques­tion marks over their ti­tle cre­den­tials.

Emre Can is a set to miss out against Mid­dles­brough with a knee prob­lem, al­though the Ger­man mid­fielder is ex­pected to be fit for next week’s Mersey­side derby against Ever­ton. De­fender De­jan Lovren, who was forced off with cramp against West Ham at An­field, is a doubt for the trip to the North-East. Mid­dles­brough mid­fielder Adam For­shaw urged his team-mates not to dwell on Sun­day’s 1-0 de­feat at Southamp­ton, which leaves Ai­tor Karanka’s side three points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Boro have won two of their last three home games as they aim to re-es­tab­lish them­selves in the top flight af­ter a seven year ab­sence and can be en­cour­aged by the fact Liver­pool are with­out a win on their last seven vis­its, a run stretch­ing back to 2002. “We’re dis­ap­pointed with the out­come at Southamp­ton, but it’s not some­thing we can dwell on with the games com­ing thick and fast at this stage of the sea­son,” said For­shaw. “We’ve been play­ing some de­cent stuff, and we’re on a good run at home. Ev­ery game at this level is mas­sive, and we have an­other ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity now with Liver­pool next up at the River­side.” — AFP

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