Jurgen Klopp rejected a suggestion Liverpool did not push hard enough to try and win their Merseyside derby at rivals Everton.
Liverpool were held to their third goalless draw in their last four matches in all competitions at Goodison Park on Sunday, meaning Manchester City are a point clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Klopp opted to stick with Divock Origi – their derby hero in December at Anfield – rather than bringing back Roberto Firmino after the Brazil forward missed a midweek demolition of Watford.
Origi made way for Firmino in the 63rd minute as part of a double change that saw James Milner replace Georginio Wijnaldum, with Klopp’s final substitution seeing Adam Lallana come on for Sadio Mane with six minutes to go.
That left Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri as unused substitutes as Liverpool failed to break the deadlock at Goodison, but Klopp hit out at questions over his derby decisions.
“We don’t play PlayStation. Do you think we didn’t take enough risks today?” Klopp said at a news conference. “Is that what you want to ask? That’s a really disappointing question, I have to say, because that means it’s like it’s so easy.
“I tell the boys to take more risks, ‘Come on boys, we go for it!’ Is there any draw we didn’t try to win? What is that? An extra attacker just to go wild nine matchdays [from the end of the season]?
“You think it’s PlayStation, bring an extra attacker and football changes. It’s not like that! We are offensive enough, football doesn’t work like that. There are nine games to go, we don’t lose our nerve like you obviously. It’s the second time you ask a question I really don’t get.
17 – Alisson has kept 17 clean sheets in the Premier League this season – the most by a keeper in their debut season in the competition since Jose Reina in 2005-06 (20). Wall. pic.twitter.com/c0V8757uvo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 3, 2019
“City won yesterday in a game where they had 20 chances with one shot in the short corner that [Artur] Boruc usually picks, but they won it. So another striker and another striker, yes, sometimes you need them.
“And sometimes you don’t do it. Sometimes you need the right things in the right moment, it doesn’t only work if another striker [comes on]. You cannot start with four or five strikers in a striker way, nothing else to do but try to score. We have an offensive team and we take the risk, no doubt about that, but it’s not like that.
“There’s not a moment where we say, ‘Come on now, throw everything in that direction’. You cannot play in the Premier League like that. We play next week Burnley, if we play only offensive they kill us in the counter-attack, 100 per cent, whatever we want.
“They don’t wait for us, they see where we have problems and try to punish us there. Just always prepare the game like you should prepare. We take all the risks, but you cannot take more than 100 per cent risk, going nuts. It’s not about that.”
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) March 3, 2019
Jordan Henderson accepted his side lacked a clinical edge after drawing a blank for the third time in their past four matches in all competitions.
And Klopp agreed with the Liverpool captain’s assessment while insisting his team do not need to be told what to do as the title race enters its final stretch.
“I don’t think I have to give my players advice because they know it already,” he added. “We are not little boys anymore, it’s not that we were completely surprised that we can play good football, that we are in the very, very top part of the table.
“But if you are there, you have to be ready for all the different things that happen. Sometimes we have a lead and everybody says, ‘That’s done!’ 20 games before the end of the season – staying calm in these situations was very easy.
“Then we have a one-point or two-point [lead] and everybody says, ‘That’s [it] now’. It’s not important. Beginning of March, who cares? The good thing is we are in that battle, that’s really good news. My feeling is more and more we are really prepared for it, to be honest.
“Today, a difficult game for us. Everybody has to come here and it’s probably always difficult but obviously [for] us it’s extremely difficult. We get a point, if somebody should have won the game I think it was only one team. In a wild game, we had chances, big chances, we didn’t use them.”
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