Jurgen Klopp reminded of “heart attack” years with “horrendous” defending – Liverpool FC

Jurgen Klopp was left baffled by the “horrendous” defending on show in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Brighton, serving a reminder of his early “heart attack” years in charge.

The real turning point in Klopp’s time at Liverpool came in 2018, with the signings of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk and their transformative impact on the defence.

Almost immediately, Van Dijk improved a back four that still included Dejan Lovren, while seven months later, the arrival of Alisson finally ended a long run of mediocre goalkeepers wearing the gloves.

Before that, it was often a lottery whether Liverpool would be able to back up their overwhelming attacking play with solidity in defence – and in Saturday’s clash with Brighton, Klopp saw familiar signs.

“If you’ve watched football games long enough here, we had these kinds of situations years ago where we were only one goal up and it happened quite frequently that everyone nearly got a heart attack,” he told reporters.

Liverpool were 2-0 down within 17 minutes at Anfield as Leandro Trossard scored two carbon copy goals, and though Roberto Firmino‘s brace restored parity and Adam Webster’s own goal gave them the lead, Klopp could still smell a leveller.

“We were just not convincing in these moments, where we then get a counter-attack, be compact, these kinds of things. That’s what reminded me of a little bit today,” the manager added.

“So I cannot say that I was 100 percent convinced that we would not concede a goal when we were 3-2 up. Then they scored a goal.

“We should have defended all three goals better, there’s no doubt about that – in different areas, not in the last moment, already earlier we should have defended better.

“They scored, 3-3, then that feels, again, like a defeat, even when it’s not a defeat.

“We have to fight through this. The boys can play much better, my job is to create a situation where they can deliver, and for that you need stability, consistency.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates their side's first goal of the game, scored by Roberto Firmino vs Brighton (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

“You get that from top defending and, obviously, we didn’t defend top in the beginning, and then not even during the game there were always situations. They were really dangerous.

“We had then much better moments and I think it was absolutely fine that we went 3-2 up, but then we were not sitting deep, we were not attacking high, we were somewhere in between, and that’s how they got their moments still.

“I don’t know how many situations I saw today where the offensive players could just turn between the lines.

“Horrendous, really horrible to watch.

“Again, that’s the same job that you have when you are winning all the time, just more difficult because you have to create a situation where you can make it easier for the boys to deliver. That’s how I see it.”