London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his players must pay more attention to protecting leads than they have in the last two Premier League games which has seen them drop five points.
The 49-year-old German — whose side have slipped from the top of the table in early November to six points adrift of leaders Chelsea — is pleased his team are playing attractive football but would prefer the players struck a better balance in attacking and defending.
Their last two games have seen them let slip a 3-1 lead over Bournemouth to lose 4-3 and then taking an early advantage over West Ham they fell 2-1 behind but fought back to draw 2-2.
“It looks like we feel we are only good when we can press high up but it is not true,” said Klopp at his press conference on the eve of their next match away at struggling Middlesbrough.
“It is a question of rhythm and balance; the rhythm is good but the balance was not too good in the last two games in different moments.
“We are a real good football-playing side but it is always about the balance of risk and protection.
“We did well but balance-wise not well enough, that is what we took from the last two games.”
Klopp, who is bidding to go one better than predecessor Brendan Rodgers did in the 2013/14 campaign and deliver Liverpool their first Premier League title, said once in front there was no need to press unnecessarily for another goal.
“We need to be protecting, especially when you are in the lead there is absolutely no reason for taking the highest risk,” said Klopp.
“You still want to play with a clear direction but not with seven players in one role, that makes no sense.
“We have too many players in the first line so while we still create many chances like this it is a little bit risky.
“That is what we have to adapt now. We know what we have to work on but that does not mean it works immediately in the first second.”
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