Coach Klopp demands better defending from Liverpool

London, Jan 3 (IANS) Following a 0-2 loss to West Ham United in the English Premier League (EPL), Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp has admitted they have to iron out the defensive flaws as the Reds look to bounce back against Stoke City in the Capital One Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

Liverpool on Saturday headed to the Boleyn Ground seeking a third consecutive victory in the league, having previously claimed three points from meetings with Leicester City and Sunderland during the festive period.

But headed goals early in each half from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll gave the Hammers the spoils instead, leaving Klopp and his men frustrated.

“We could have done much better. Everybody saw we had these two moments (West Ham goals) — we have the set-plays, the throw-in and their shot that hit the post. We had our moments, we played football and we tried — and that’s what we have to do. But if you don’t fight, if you fight in these moments not with 100 percent but with 95 percent, it’s not enough,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com on Saturday.

“You have to avoid the crosses, that’s the thing. In the box in the air, it’s 50/50. If Carroll or Christian Benteke go for the challenge it’s 60/40. I know how football works, we have to avoid the cross. There are crosses in the game, that’s normal. It’s football, defending is a part of football,” the German added.

“I was a defender, I enjoyed it. It’s a nice part of the game, you get dirty after, it’s not a problem, you don’t have to wash your clothes yourself. It’s our responsibility (to defend).”

Reflecting on the team’s performance, Klopp said: “It was not enough from my team today. In the decisive moments we were there, but we were not there 100 percent. We came back a little bit in the game in the first half and everybody saw when we start playing with a clear direction then we had our moments and made chances, but we didn’t score.

“In the second half, we started OK but out of nothing it was 2-0. Of course, West Ham had chances in the first half after set-plays, throw-ins, bad defending — we showed it (to the players) at half-time on TV. In the second half, we had our moments again, but five against one on the sideline, nobody won the ball, cross, Carroll against (Nathaniel) Clyne, no chance for Clyney again, header and 2-0,” the former Borussia Dortmund coach added.

“That’s what makes me angry today because you saw in each situation when we started playing fighting football, we had better moments but we scored no goals in this game. It’s our responsibility and it’s not a day for being disappointed, only a day for being angry about ourselves — and that’s what we are.”

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