Klopp promises to sort out Liverpool's defence

(From right) Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Sunderland with Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane.
(From right) Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Sunderland with Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool's defensive problems were no cause for alarm after his side maintained their push for the Premier League title with a 4-2 win away to Crystal Palace.

Despite a comfortable scoreline that drew Liverpool level on points with league leaders Manchester City and second-placed Arsenal, the visitors' backline was badly exposed at Selhurst Park at times on Saturday.

Dejan Lovren was at fault when James McArthur cancelled out Emre Can's opener. The centre-back later allowed the Palace midfielder to head his second goal after Lovren himself had restored Liverpool's lead.

The result meant the Reds have kept just one clean sheet in the league so far this term, but manager Klopp said: "We will sort the defence. When that happens, we will see. They can defend really well - it's normal (to have lapses).

"They are all human beings, we'll work on it."

Lovren's fellow central defender Joel Matip put Liverpool ahead for a third time immediately before half-time and Roberto Firmino wrapped up the win midway through the second half.

But Philippe Coutinho was the game's outstanding player and Klopp praised the contribution of the Brazilian international.

"He's a very good player. His work-rate is outstanding. That's important for the team, and you cannot change this because you cannot be a genius every day," he said.

Palace manager Alan Pardew was left frustrated by his side's failure to capitalise on Liverpool's mistakes, with the hosts paying a heavy price for their own errors at the back.

After a successful September when they recorded three wins, they have lost three straight games.

"McArthur was exceptional, he scored two goals and his energy levels were a positive force for us all game," said Pardew. "But at times the back four looked like it will need some work today."

He also questioned Andre Marriner's appointment for the match, after the referee awarded Liverpool a contentious penalty converted by Christian Benteke - now at Palace - in last season's corresponding fixture, which the Reds won 2-1.

Marriner turned down three Palace penalty appeals on Saturday, and Pardew said: "I don't think Andre Marriner should have (officiated) this game. We get three penalty calls, okay they are tight, but they are probably no worse than Christian's last year, so it's just a little bit frustrating."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp promises to sort out Liverpool's defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe