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'Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool project is being held back by two familiar failings'

September 17, 2017 9:06 AM
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A look at what the national media made of Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Burnley

Another disappointing afternoon for Liverpool after their 1-1 draw with Burnley, and the national newspapers are unsurprisingly focusing on the familiar failings of the back line.

In the Independent, Mark Critchley believes it's two familiar failings that are hurting Jurgen Klopp's side.

He writes: Jurgen Klopp is closing in on his two-year anniversary at Anfield and though in that time there has been significant progress, his project has been held back by two consistent failings: conceding goals too easily and failing to break down deep-lying defences. This draw with Burnley provided a microcosm of Liverpool's problems.

Sean Dyche’s side are exactly the sort of team that Klopp's Liverpool have struggled against and this was the type of result that is priced at long odds on a bookmakers’ board but always seems so predictable in hindsight. Like Sevilla on Wednesday night, Burnley scored with their first shot on target, with Scott Arfield exposing more poor defensive play to put the visitors ahead.

Liverpool responded soon after through Mohamed Salah but failed to find a second, despite racking up 34 attempts in total. They not only peppered the Burnley goal but dominated the ball and conducted much of the game in their visitors’ half too. Yet for all their supremacy, they never led at any point.

They were unlucky, perhaps, not to see a late flurry of chances produce a winning goal - with substitute Dominic Solanke striking the bar from close range - but by the final whistle, Anfield regulars were left asking the usual questions.

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph focuses on the absence of Sadio Mane, and what that means for Liverpool.

He writes: The question in the summer was how would Liverpool cope without Philippe Coutinho. It has evolved into how do they thrive without Sadio Mane.

Another frustrating home draw demonstrated just how much the suspended Senegalese’s loss is felt.

Coutinho was back after a pre-season of friction, searching for form as much as possession in a deep midfield role, but the consequences of Mane’s three-game ban have already impacted on Jurgen Klopp’s side. The rotation system the manager believes essential to success was sent spinning.

Klopp made seven changes to the side that faced Sevilla in the Champions League. Mass alterations might be necessary for fresh legs, but they can also be undermining. Players are seeking an understanding as much as rhythm and sharpness to their game.

Now Liverpool are already five points behind Manchester City, a week which began with defensive toils ending with a rare blunt attacking display.

Ian Whittell of the Times thinks Klopp won't be surprised by what he saw.

He writes: The early-season frustrations being experienced by Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool squad show no signs of abating on the evidence of this latest, relative setback as a Burnley side that claimed seven points on its travels over the whole of last season made it five from three games with another impressive effort.

Having already won at Chelsea and drawn at Tottenham, a point at Anfield will not have come as that big a surprise to the Burnley faithful but, more worryingly for Klopp, nor should the defensive shortcomings exhibited by his side.

It took a well-taken goal from Mohamed Salah, currently looking one of the best pieces of business conducted by any team in the summer transfer window, to rescue a point after the defence in question had again assisted with an opposition goal, this one laid on a plate to Burnley’s Canada international Scott Arfield.

In the end, Klopp was left staring at the stark fact that he made seven changes to the team that threw away two Champions League points to Seville in midweek and still his problems persist in defence.

And finally, in the Mirror, David Maddock isn't letting Liverpool's forward line off easily.

He writes: Perhaps a simpler way would be for their attack to be more ruthless in killing games off when they have the chance. Against Sevilla in midweek it should have been all over long before the Spaniards equalised, ditto Watford earlier in the season.

Here, just after they levelled in the first half, the Reds had the game in their grasp, but failed to press the kill button, and Burnley were allowed to escape with parity into the second half. Are they ruthless enough? That is as pertinent a question for Klopp as ones about his defence.

Source: liverpoolecho.co.uk

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