Attack is Klopp's best strategy

"Thinking of a clean sheet against Man City doesn't make sense," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.
"Thinking of a clean sheet against Man City doesn't make sense," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.PHOTO: REUTERS

With backline woes and City's fearless form, Reds need goals to give themselves a chance

LONDON • Liverpool have vowed to go on the attack as they enter today's Champions League quarter-final, first leg against Manchester City with just two fit centre-backs.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp yesterday revealed that his only central defensive options are Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, following injuries to Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan.

Matip injured his thigh in last Saturday's 2-1 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Key midfielder Emre Can (back) remains a doubt to feature today and Klopp is realistic about his side's chances of shutting out City.

"Thinking of a clean sheet against Man City doesn't make sense," he told a press conference yesterday.

"Hoping they don't have a shot on target - you can forget about that. You need a fantastic show from your goalkeeper and defence and that is it. We have to dig in 100 per cent and use the space."

Left-back Andy Robertson also gave an indication of the Reds' approach to the Anfield game.

"If there's a chance to go forward, I'll be getting forward to attack," he said. "Me and Sadio (Mane) will be on (the left) side and hopefully we'll cause them problems.

"Hopefully we'll get back into our formation quite quickly if we break down but we're at home and we need to create chances."

Given that the aggregate score from the teams' two Premier League meetings this season was 8-4, most are expecting a high-octane affair and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson is no different. "This will be everything that is good about football. We over-hype many games these days but this is a game that cannot be over-hyped," he told BBC Sport.

"The hype is justified because they can't play any other way than by going at each other."

City boast a 16-point lead atop the Premier League table after dominating and suffocating opponents.

While City manager Pep Guardiola is not about to change tack, he is aware that his side can be vulnerable to Liverpool's high-pressing style and counter attacks.

"The way we play is perfect for Liverpool. They attack the space like no other team in the world, of course we are going to try do something," he said. "Of course I consider what is the value of Liverpool and their qualities and I am concerned about what they do. I am not so arrogant. But if you think about defending 90 minutes and play on the counter, that's not going to happen. Why should we change when it's going well so far?"

City are not without injury problems, however, with Guardiola yesterday ruling striker Sergio Aguero out of the first leg. The Argentina star, however, could return from a knee injury in time for Saturday's Manchester derby.

Singtel TV Ch112 & StarHub Ch212, tomorrow, 2.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Attack is Klopp's best strategy'. Print Edition | Subscribe