Wounded Reds must pay heed to defence

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp consoles Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain after the 5-0 defeat against Manchester City last Saturday.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp consoles Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain after the 5-0 defeat against Manchester City last Saturday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sevilla boss warns that Liverpool will be keen to reverse the pain of humiliation against City

LONDON • When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in October 2015, he said: "If we sit here in four years, I think we (will) win one title."

Next month will mark the halfway point of that four-year cycle.

There has undoubtedly been progress in that time; a team who were 10th in the Premier League when he arrived finished fourth last season.

Whether they are significantly closer to winning a major trophy is more open to debate.

Liverpool reached two finals in Klopp's first seven months as manager, losing on penalties to Manchester City in the League Cup, and suffering a more decisive 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League.

Expectations at Anfield are higher now, but Liverpool look far from a complete team as they prepare to face Sevilla once more, this time in Group E of the Champions League.

The best and worst of the 2017 Liverpool side were on show when they beat Hoffenheim in last month's play-off to reach the Champions League group stage.

PLENTY TO LEARN FROM

We have a lot of things to learn from the City game. We cannot change the result, we can only learn from it.

JURGEN KLOPP, determined to put the 5-0 defeat behind him.

Klopp's side showed an attacking verve that could threaten the best in Europe, but they could easily have conceded more than three goals in the tie.

Then the Merseyside club were thrashed 5-0 by City in the Premier League on Saturday.

However, the defeat should be put into the context that they had matched City and were trailing only 0-1 when Sadio Mane was sent off.

Liverpool's appeal for the forward's three-match ban was rejected yesterday, as Klopp confirmed that Philippe Coutinho is in contention to start against Sevilla.

He said: "Leaving Coutinho out against City was a decision made with the season in mind.

"We thought it best to give him three or four days proper training and then he'll be available for us, which is very good news.

"We have a lot of things to learn from the City game. We cannot change the result, we can only learn from it."

For Sevilla, much has changed since manager Unai Emery guided them to a third successive Europa League title with victory over Liverpool two seasons ago.

Emery has since moved to Paris Saint-Germain, and his successor Jorge Sampaoli left at the end of last season for the Argentina job.

Eduardo Berizzo arrived in May and has helped Sevilla make a strong start in LaLiga, garnering seven points from three matches.

The Argentinian, though, is wary: "Liverpool are a great team and Saturday's defeat doesn't take anything away from them. Moreover, they'll be like a wounded animal."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'Wounded Reds must pay heed to defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe