Jurgen Klopp questioned Liverpool’s focus despite his side powering to a 4-0 win over Southampton, demanding they tighten up in defence.
On the face of it, that may have seemed an unexpected response to a crushing win with a clean sheet, but Klopp was right to point to Liverpool offering up golden chances to their Anfield visitors.
Goalkeeper Alisson saved well from Armando Broja and Adam Armstrong, and Liverpool were arguably flattered by their victory margin as they reached 39 goals from their opening 13 games of the Premier League campaign.
In terms of expected goals, the metric that assesses the quality of a team’s chances, Liverpool finished the game with an advantage of 2.67 to Southampton’s 1.34. Those numbers indicate Liverpool impressively over-performed in terms of capitalising on opportunities, while Southampton should have done better.
Liverpool have only conceded a higher expected goals against (xGA) figure in three Premier League games this season, against the unlikely trio of Manchester United (1.49), Norwich City (1.61) and Brentford (2.72). They beat United 5-0 and Norwich 3-0, and drew 3-3 in a thriller at Brentford.
“I was not happy with the chances we conceded today, to be honest,” said Klopp in his post-game news conference.
“I have no problem that Ali has to make saves in a football game but these saves were too spectacular. One-on-one with the goalie should not happen twice in a game, for sure not.
“We have to really work on that. We have to be as stable, serious, ruthless defensively as somehow possible. That gives us then the platform to play football and then we can create and then we can score.
“It will not be forever like this that we score two goals per game but it happened so far. So, good. But if we win a game 1-0 then I’m happy as well.”
Liverpool have now scored two or more goals in 17 consecutive games across all competitions, making them only the second ever English top-flight club to achieve this feat after Sunderland in 1927 (17).
They could set an outright record on Wednesday in the derby against former Reds boss Rafael Benitez’s Everton team.
There was plenty for Klopp to enjoy, and he hailed Diogo Jota as “a perfect signing” after the Portuguese forward, acquired from Wolves in September 2020, snatched two close-range goals early in the game to put the hosts in charge.
“A good subject to talk about,” Klopp said. “Diogo: exceptional player, exceptional boy. It was for us two years ago, one-and-a-half years ago, a perfect signing because he has everything that a Liverpool player in this squad needs.
“He has the technical skills, he has the physical skills and he is very smart and can learn all the tactical stuff pretty quick. On top of that, he can play all three positions; in a 4-2-3-1 he could play as the 10. So, it is very helpful.
“He has the speed, has the desire to finish situations off really good. I think his goalscoring record is pretty impressive, if I’m right. Unfortunately, he had a big injury last year and that is then never helpful. But he is back, thank God, and fits really well in this team. I’m really happy for him.”
Jota is set for an increasingly important role as Liverpool prepare to lose Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to Africa Cup of Nations duty in January.
Klopp would love Liverpool to be able to call on Mane and Salah up to and including the Premier League clash with Chelsea on January 2.
Asked whether it was known yet whether they would be available to face the current leaders, Klopp said: “Not really, it’s early for that, we’re still talking. Yes [we are hoping].”
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