Liverpool need to learn how to close games out under Jurgen Klopp


Jurgen Klopp has done very little wrong at Anfield since taking over as the Liverpool manager. He has brought back the belief and excitement among The Reds supporters. Europa League semi-final is the clear indication of how well he has worked with the same group of players who were underperforming under Brendan Rodgers.

Despite turning things around at the club, one aspect of Jurgen Klopp’s management which needs fine tuning is his team’s ability to close out games when they are ahead. His pressing style always keeps Liverpool players guessing whether to keep pressing or sit back and defend the lead they have.

Liverpool may have been on a winning run lately but we did witness them dropping points earlier in the season under Klopp when they played against oppositions who sat deep and knew how to counter.

Their 2-2 draw against Newcastle United was another example of how Klopp demands his players to keep going till the end and play at the high tempo. It would have made sense for them to drop deep and allow Newcastle to have the ball, instead The Reds kept pushing higher up the field and were caught by Andres Townsend’s pace.

Townsend received the ball from a poor pass and started to charge at Liverpool’s defense. At that time, there was very little help on offer for Dejan Lovren and Co. Vurnon Anita’s cross saw Simon Mignolet make a poor decision and allowed Papiss Cisse to score Newcastle’s opening goal.

From there on, Magpies enjoyed more of the ball and had space to attack given Klopp’s high pressing style of play. That very space allowed Jack Colabck to make a late dart in the box and score the equalizing goal.

Things would have been different if for a change Klopp would have asked his players to defend their areas and not allow any space to Newcastle players to work with. The fact that Klopp had selected two young players for the game against Newcastle, it would have been better to adjust his tactics a little.

At the end of the day, a team is expected to have different game plans against different oppositions. If Klopp keeps playing the same way week-in-week-out, teams will pick his players out and he would find it hard to win games on a more regular basis.

Given the kind of run Klopp and his team are at the moment, this particular criticism may not appeal to the Liverpool fans but if they are to mount a serious title challenge next season, he will need to work on closing the games out and not award free points to the opposing teams.

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