Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (2L) congratulates his players following the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Hull City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICK
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side are learning to deal with ultra-defensive teams who set out to frustrate them after a second successive 3-0 victory.
The Reds beat Slovenian side Maribor on Wednesday to consolidate their position at the top of Champions League Group E in a game that had many parallels with Saturday’s match against Huddersfield.
Both saw the Anfield visitors adopt deep-lying 5-4-1 formations that nullified their opponents in frustrating opening periods, both featured a missed penalty and both saw Liverpool score early in the second half to set up ultimately comfortable wins.
Klopp’s team head to West Ham on Saturday, where they could face more of the same but the manager is not concerned, having seen his players show patience and a newly discovered way to win.
“They have the tools, they know what to do but the situations are always a little bit different,” the manager said after the Champions League victory.
“Yes, I think we are better equipped because we are more used to it. When you win you see the result and you can say ‘yes’ after two games in a row now.
“Probably the next is coming up against West Ham. I am not sure (how they will set up). We will have to do the analysis first before I say something about this but, yes, we have everything we need for it, that’s 100 per cent.”
Emre Can, who scored a well-worked second goal to give Liverpool the breathing space they needed against the Slovenians, agrees with his manager.
“I think we’ve improved. I think if you compare to last year, we create a lot of chances and that’s good,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
The goal was the Germany midfielder’s third of the campaign, all of which have come in Europe.
Scoring is not a problem for summer signing Mohamed Salah, who moved into double figures with a clever back-heeled effort to break Maribor’s resistance.
The Egypt international has taken 16 matches to score his first 10 goals, on a par with Fernando Torres and better than Luis Suarez when they first arrived on Merseyside.
Deployed on the right wing, the former Chelsea player has benefited from being able to cut inside and Klopp is delighted with the progress he is making.
“He is a very offensive midfielder, if not a striker,” said the Reds boss. “He likes these situations. He used his speed even in the small space (against Maribor), coming in behind.”