Football: Sami Hyypia: Reds not ruthless enough under Jurgen Klopp

Former Liverpool and Finland defender Sami Hyypia conducting a football clinic for girls, organised by Courts, at The Arena in Woodleigh Park yesterday.
Former Liverpool and Finland defender Sami Hyypia conducting a football clinic for girls, organised by Courts, at The Arena in Woodleigh Park yesterday.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Ex-Liverpool star Hyypia says Klopp needs to sharpen attack, find leaders

With a frontline boasting the likes of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, plus Daniel Sturridge as back-up on the bench, Liverpool are the envy of many managers in the English Premier League.

Egyptian forward Salah has been the most impressive of the lot, hitting the ground running in his first season with seven league goals, second only to Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Tottenham's Harry Kane (both on eight goals).

Still, former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia thinks that the Reds, who host Southampton today, are yet to realise their full potential under manager Jurgen Klopp.

"Liverpool are creating a lot of chances, but they are not scoring enough because they can't finish them off," the 44-year-old, who is in Singapore to join the celebrations commemorating the redesign of the Courts Megastore in Tampines, told The New Paper yesterday.

"On the other end of the field, they are conceding too many easy goals. So, when we put those two things together, they're not getting the results you want."

In his 10 years (1999-2009) at Anfield, he made 318 appearances, with the highlight of his career coming during the 2004-05 campaign, when he helped the club win the Champions League title.

CHALLENGE OF KLOPP'S ATTACKING FOOTBALL

When I was at Liverpool, we played a little bit deeper... But now when the opponents attack, there is about 50m behind them, and it's more demanding. They need to... find that balance.

SAMI HYYPIA , former Liverpool defender, on their high-pressing game.

The former Finland international enjoys Klopp's attacking brand of football, but he feels it is challenging for the players.

He said: "It's great to see Liverpool play the Klopp way; he wants a high-tempo game, pressing up high on the field. The way they are playing is great to see when it works, but it can be very demanding for the players.

"When I was at Liverpool, we played a little bit deeper, so we didn't have so much space behind us. But now when the opponents attack, there is about 50m behind them, and it's more demanding. They need to adapt to how the manager wants to play and find that balance."

Liverpool's backline has come under scrutiny this season after a series of defensive howlers. The Reds, fifth on the standings, have shipped in 17 goals in 11 matches, more than every team in the top 13 except ninth-placed Watford.

Hyypia believes that the blame should not be placed squarely on the defenders, and that the biggest problem Klopp needs to solve is a lack of leadership and communication on the pitch.

He said: "Liverpool definitely need to cut out the individual mistakes, but what I also see from the games is that the team do not have enough leaders.

"Somebody needs to organise everything on the field better and give commands. They need to talk more during the game because communication is another thing that contributes to these mistakes.

"The players need to communicate all the time, which is why I think sometimes the centre backs are getting unnecessary criticism. They are not alone on the field.

"It is the whole team's responsibility to attack and defend."


LIVERPOOL V SOUTHAMPTON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2017, with the headline 'Reds lack finishing touch'. Print Edition | Subscribe