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Coutinho: Whole team to blame

Tue, 24/10/2017 - 10:00
By Matthew Treadwell

Last Updated: 24/10/17 8:13am

Philippe Coutinho blames Liverpool's poor defending on the team as a wholePhilippe Coutinho blames Liverpool's poor defending on the team as a whole Philippe Coutinho blames Liverpool's poor defending on the team as a whole

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho believes the whole team is to blame for the high number of goals they have conceded this season.

Jurgen Klopp's side have let in 16 goals in their opening nine Premier League matches, with all but one of those coming away from Anfield.

Tottenham's attack was the latest to take advantage of their leaky defence as they won 4-1 at Wembley on Sunday, with the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City and the 3-3 draw with Watford on the opening day of the season also adversely affecting their goal-difference.

Liverpool's familiar problems

Individual errors, conceding from set-pieces and a goalkeeper mistake... Liverpool's defeat to Spurs had a familiar feel

But Brazil international Coutinho says the Reds must take collective responsibility for their defensive shortcomings as they look to cut out mistakes that are costing them dear.

"It's not just about the defence, it's about the whole team," he said.

"The first goal started out wide when everyone was involved in defending, not just the wingers or full-backs.

Watch highlights of Liverpool's 4-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley last Sunday Watch highlights of Liverpool's 4-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley last Sunday

"We have to improve this as quickly as possible in order to win games.

"In more difficult games, like the Tottenham match, that's what decides results. It's those challenges that can make the difference so you have to be more attentive.

"I think they were goals that could have been avoided - they ended up being silly goals.

Jurgen Klopp says the first goal against Tottenham would not have happened if he had been on the pitch Jurgen Klopp says the first goal against Tottenham would not have happened if he had been on the pitch

"To concede in the first four minutes unsettled us all, then the next goal came after 12 minutes. It's really hard against a strong team when you start like that.

"I think what we have to do is work hard at dead-ball situations and on balls from the flanks."

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Neville's Liverpool frustrations

Sun, 22/10/2017 - 22:50

Last Updated: 22/10/17 11:09pm

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson shows his frustrationLiverpool captain Jordan Henderson shows his frustration Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson shows his frustration

Gary Neville expressed his frustrations with Liverpool after another poor defensive showing cost them in a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham, saying the Reds can't win the Premier League with their current defence.

Dejan Lovren was at fault for both Tottenham's opening goals while goalkeeper Simon Mignolet failed to punch clear a free-kick for the fourth goal.

The 16 goals Liverpool have conceded in the Premier League this season is their highest tally in the top flight after nine games since 1964/65.

And, speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, the former England and Manchester United defender said: "The mistakes around those first two goals revolved around Dejan Lovren. It destroyed them. I was about to praise the Liverpool players - you couldn't see any space - but then he decides to play offside from a throw-in.

"It's too much now for this Liverpool side in terms of how many goals they've conceded over the last five seasons.

Jurgen Klopp insists his side can turn their form around but says they must take a collective responsibility to improve Jurgen Klopp insists his side can turn their form around but says they must take a collective responsibility to improve

"The ultimate for Liverpool is to win the Premier League and I think a couple of times in the last five years - particularly that season under Brendan Rodgers - they should have won it if they'd defended half-properly. They've conceded 50, 48 and 50 goals over the last three years. They've conceded the most goals away from home in the Premier League this season. That's wrong.

"Anfield is a fortress but they crumble away from home when they come under pressure. It's almost like Arsenal, where you keep seeing the same things, season after season. It's Groundhog Day."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side made it "too easy" for Tottenham, but thinks they can fix their defensive issues.

Gary Neville Podcast

Listen to the latest edition of the Gary Neville Podcast from Sky Sports

However, Neville said they looked like a "sad team" in the defeat at Wembley.

"You don't mind players making mistakes but when it's the same players making the same mistakes in different seasons, you think something's got to change," he commented.

"Liverpool have got a very good side - they've been one of the best sides for us to watch over the last two or three years and I say that as a neutral looking at all the Premier League teams in terms of their energy, their enthusiasm. Today they looked like a sad team. It's the first time I've seen that under Jurgen Klopp."

As a defender, you will make mistakes but these lads are making too many...Liverpool can't win a league with that defence

Gary Neville

Neville won the Premier League eight times with United as well as lifting several other trophies. And he said there would have been consequences if the United defence continued to make mistakes as Liverpool are doing.

"It's not a personal attack on the centre-backs or goalkeeper but I've been saying it for three, four years, watching them make the same mistakes.

Highlights: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Highlights: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

"I've made mistakes myself but if we'd conceded 50 goals every season for Manchester United, heads would roll. If I'd made the same mistakes continuously, heads would roll. As a defender, you will make mistakes but these lads are making too many.

"I genuinely believe you need a great goalkeeper to win the league and Liverpool can't win a league with that defence. We can say that Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea have spent more money - it's tough to win the league - but in these last few years, they could have won a title and it's the defending that has cost them. Liverpool Football Club with its history needs to win a title."

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool's familiar problems

Sun, 22/10/2017 - 22:20
Peter Smith

Comment and Analysis @p_smith86

Last Updated: 22/10/17 9:38pm

Liverpool suffered a 4-1 defeat away to TottenhamLiverpool suffered a 4-1 defeat away to Tottenham Liverpool suffered a 4-1 defeat away to Tottenham

Individual errors, conceding from set-pieces and a goalkeeper mistake... Liverpool's defeat to Spurs had a familiar feel, writes Peter Smith.

Liverpool fans have seen these faults before. But on Sunday all of the defensive flaws which have dogged this team in recent seasons were glaringly on show at Wembley, allowing Tottenham to romp to a 4-1 win.

There were the individual errors from Dejan Lovren, who was substituted in the 31st minute after gifting Spurs their first two. Then there were the same old set-piece errors for the third and fourth, with the final Tottenham strike also featuring the latest howler from a Liverpool goalkeeper.

"The whole game, the whole result was very much our fault," conceded a frustrated Jurgen Klopp to Sky Sports after the game.

Here, we look at Liverpool's familiar failings…

Liverpool's blues on the road

Liverpool have conceded 15 Premier League goals away this season - more than any other team.

Individual mistakes

First, there was the ill-advised decision to step up and try to catch Harry Kane offside when right-back Joe Gomez was playing him on, before a failure to head clear allowed the Spurs striker to race through for a one-on-one he superbly converted. Then there was the reckless attempt to head a Hugo Lloris throw; miscalculating the flight allowed Kane to storm into Liverpool territory and cross for Heung-Min Son to add a second.

They were eight first-half minutes to forget for Dejan Lovren and two costly misjudgements which, with not even a quarter of an hour on the clock, left his team-mates a mountain to climb.

Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry saw a "raw fear" of Kane in Lovren's performance and he was subbed off after 31 minutes. Over the past three seasons, among Liverpool players, only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (six) has made more errors leading directly to goals than Lovren (three), according to Opta. No outfield player has made more than his six errors leading to opposition shots.

But this isn't just about Lovren. It's a recurring theme throughout this Liverpool defence. Since 2015/16, only West Ham have made more errors leading to goals, only Swansea more errors leading to shots. They're damning and alarming stats for a team aiming to battle much higher up the table than those two sides.

These are individual mistakes being made time and time again.

Jamie Redknapp

"Going forward they're as good as anybody, but if I was playing in this team it would drive me mad with how many individual mistakes this back four makes," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp. "These are individual mistakes being made time and time again and that's why the manager wanted to buy a centre-back in the summer.

"They are just not good enough individually, collectively. I don't care what you do with them, they are going to keep on making these mistakes week in, week out."

Failure to defend set pieces

Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool two years ago, Watford, Stoke City and Crystal Palace are the only teams who have conceded more goals from set pieces. It's a problem Klopp has expressed his frustration with in the past and it damaged Liverpool's chances of getting back into this match.

At 2-1, in first-half injury time, Emre Can lost possession to Dele Alli and, chasing back, brought down the Spurs attacker. The free-kick was in a deep, central area but Liverpool's defence retreated to the edge of their box and strung out across the 18-yard line.

Christian Eriksen's free-kick was only half headed clear by Joel Matip and Alli was there to pounce on the second ball and shoot into the bottom corner. So what went wrong? Henry suggested goalkeeper Simon Mignolet should have called for Matip to leave the pass into the box, with no Spurs players in his vicinity.

Jurgen Klopp insists his side can turn their form around but says they must take a collective responsibility to improve. Jurgen Klopp insists his side can turn their form around but says they must take a collective responsibility to improve.

Sky Sports' Gary Neville, though, was critical of the defensive formation Liverpool took up. "Liverpool went back into a wide free-kick defensive shape," he explained. "They didn't need to, the two centre-backs for Tottenham hadn't come up the pitch. They should have just played normally.

"But it meant everybody was in a line on the edge of the box. It was a poor header from Matip but they didn't need to go back into that seven in a line for that free-kick" - a set-up which meant there was no one on hand to beat Alli to the loose ball.

Goalkeeper errors

Whether Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius plays, Liverpool can't get away from their goalkeeper problems. On Sunday it was the Belgian's turn, rushing off his line into a crowd of bodies to try to claim a crossed free-kick. He only managed to parry his attempted catch, allowing first Jan Vertonghen, and then Kane the opportunity to fire into the unguarded net from close range.

Watch highlights of Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Watch highlights of Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

"It's typical of what that goalkeeper does," said Neville on commentary after Kane had converted. Indeed, since his debut for Liverpool in August 2013, Mignolet has made more errors leading to a goal than any other player in the Premier League (13).

Time for change?

So how can Liverpool buck the trend? Neville says the defence needs personnel changes.

Watching these Liverpool defenders over a period of three or four years, I can't believe some of them are still there.

Gary Neville

"If you're making mistakes at Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea and you're making them constantly, you don't get in the team," said Neville. "You get dropped. You get sold. But I have to say, watching these Liverpool defenders over a period of three or four years, I can't believe some of them are still there.

"They would have won a league, probably, in the last three or four years if they could defend. That's where it is. It's not being harsh. We're setting a standard here of where they should be, where they have been in the past."

Henry agrees and suggests Southampton's Virgil van Dijk - who Liverpool tried to sign in the summer - would be a beneficial addition. "Tony Adams and Sol Campbell were commanding and alert and defending balls for you," said the former Arsenal striker. "Would he [Van Dijk] change everything for you? No. But it will definitely make things better and have an instant impact on that defence."

Meanwhile, Redknapp believes Liverpool are lacking leaders in the heart of their defence. "When I look at Tottenham's back three with Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen they have leaders," he said. "They are commanding and tell their midfielders where to go. I don't see leaders at Liverpool. That is the major problem with that Liverpool back four."

Somehow, Klopp must find a solution to these recurring problems.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Tottenham tear Liverpool apart

Sun, 22/10/2017 - 20:00
By Jack Wilkinson at Wembley

Last Updated: 23/10/17 6:26am

Highlights: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Highlights: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

Tottenham ruthlessly exploited Liverpool's defensive woes to move joint-second in the Premier League with a scintillating 4-1 victory at Wembley.

Two early lapses from Dejan Lovren were punished by Harry Kane, who scored the first and set up Heung-Min Son for Spurs' second inside 12 minutes. Mohamed Salah halved the deficit midway through the first half but Dele Alli, on the stroke of half-time, and Kane's second on 56 minutes sealed the victory.

With Hugo Lloris inspired between the sticks, there was no way back for Liverpool, who saw a nine-game unbeaten run against Spurs come to an end in front of a record Premier League crowd of 80,827 that included Diego Maradona.

Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko and Fernando Llorente dropped out of the Spurs side which drew in Madrid, as Kieran Trippier, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son got the nod. Jurgen Klopp made on change from Liverpool’s draw with Man Utd last weekend as James Milner replaced Georginio Wijnaldum.

It appeared consecutive clean sheets against Manchester United and Maribor lulled Liverpool into a false sense of security at the back, as early hesitancy handed Spurs the initiative.

With just five minutes on the clock, Lovren's attempt to play offside backfired as Kane gathered Alli's through pass, chipped the ball over Simon Mignolet and kept his balance to finish with his left foot. Things got even worse for the visitors seven minutes later as Lovren's missed defensive header released Kane, who squared the ball for Son to fire first time beyond the Reds stopper.

Heung-Min Son celebrates scoring Tottenham's second goalHeung-Min Son celebrates scoring Tottenham's second goal Heung-Min Son celebrates scoring Tottenham's second goal

Spurs continued to cut Liverpool to shreds and so nearly put the game beyond them, but Son rattled the crossbar with a thunderous 16th-minute drive. The visitors took full advantage of their reprieve.

A first-time pass from Jordan Henderson utilised the pace of Salah, whose scuffed effort - Liverpool's first on target - trickled beyond Lloris to reduce the arrears. Lovren was put out of his misery soon after as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came off the bench, and Liverpool settled and threatened to level the contest.

However, in first-half stoppage-time, Spurs restored their two-goal lead, Alli volleying home from 18 yards after Joel Matip cleared a Christian Eriksen free-kick.

Dele Alli scored on the stroke of half-timeDele Alli scored on the stroke of half-time Dele Alli scored on the stroke of half-time

After defensive shortcomings plagued their first-half display, it was the turn of Liverpool's goalkeeper to hamper their plans of a comeback as Mignolet failed to gather a free-kick on 56 minutes. Jan Vertonghen saw a shot blocked on the line but Kane was on hand to add his second from close range.

Player ratings

Tottenham: Lloris (8), Trippier (7), Alderweireld (8), Sanchez (7), Vertonghen (8), Aurier (7), Winks (8), Alli (8), Eriksen (8), Son (8), Kane (9).

Subs: Dier (4), Sissoko (5), Llorente (4).

Liverpool: Mignolet (5), Gomez (5), Matip (5), Lovren (3), Moreno (5), Henderson (5), Milner (5), Can (5), Salah (6), Coutinho (5), Firmino (5).

Subs: Grujic (4), Oxlade-Chamberlain (5), Sturridge (4).

Man of the Match: Harry Kane

Lloris produced a world-class save to deny Philippe Coutinho's curling effort on 67 minutes, and the Spurs skipper put the finishing touch to a fine display from his side with three saves to secure the three points.

Opta stats
  • Tottenham earned their first win in 10 Premier League games against Liverpool, after a run of three draws and six defeats against the Reds.
  • Mauricio Pochettino's side scored more goals with just 14 shots in this game (4), than they had in their four previous Premier League games at Wembley (three goals from 90 shots).
  • Tottenham's second goal was the 1000th that Liverpool have conceded in the Premier League (now 1002), making them the sixth team to have reached this milestone (Tottenham 1237, Everton 1225, Aston Villa 1186, West Ham 1163 and Newcastle 1148).
  • Harry Kane's opener was his first Premier League goal at Wembley Stadium, with his 29th shot at the ground.
  • In the last eight games in which he's scored for Tottenham in all competitions, Harry Kane has scored at least twice.
Man of the Match - Harry Kane

What else is there to say about Kane that hasn't already been said? Everything the Spurs striker touches at the moment turns to gold - a Liverpool side in such fortuitous mood didn't stand a chance. Kane filled his boots inside five minutes to finally score his first Premier League goal at Wembley, and, after Son was supplied with Spurs second, his second followed soon after to cap yet another fine personal display.

What's next? Man Utd vs Tottenham

October 28, 2017, 11:30am

Live on

Spurs host London rivals West Ham in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football, before travelling to Manchester United for Saturday's early kick-off, live on Sky Sports Premier League. Having crashed out of the League Cup in round three, Liverpool have the week off before entertaining Huddersfield at Anfield on Saturday.

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