Jurgen Klopp praises defence after Liverpool keep 2nd Premier League clean sheet

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Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Saturday saw Jurgen Klopp‘s side keep their second clean sheet of the Premier League campaign.

Their only previous shutout came at home to Manchester United on October 17, also 0-0, with the Reds’ inability to quell opposition attacks leading to criticism of Klopp’s back line.

However, Liverpool have conceded just nine goals in their last 10 games in the English top flight, with their defensive solidity at St Mary’s deserving of praise.

Central to this has been the introduction of summer signing Joel Matip, who missed the first two games of the season, making his league debut away to Tottenham Hotspur on August 27.

The Cameroon international produced a stoic display up against Charlie Austin on Saturday, with Dejan Lovren faring similarly well in dealing with Southampton winger Nathan Redmond, and Klopp singled his centre-back pairing out for praise after the draw.

“We are not weak in defending. If you want to say this, do it—I don’t care. I know we aren’t,” he told reporters in Hampshire.

“Look how we defend, how Dejan and Joel defended these counter attacks. I didn’t see much better.

“There was no counter attack, they were always quick, always there.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 19, 2016: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren applauds the travelling supporters after giving his shirt away following the goal-less draw with his former club Southampton during the FA Premier League match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Matip won eight aerial duels, while Lovren made three tackles at a success rate of 100 percent, but continuing his praise of Liverpool’s defensive work, Klopp hailed his side’s approach across the field.

“My favourite situation in the game was when Nathan Redmond or whoever was there and there were four players from Liverpool and one player Southampton,” he continued.

“We got the ball back and I couldn’t see another Southampton player.

“That’s what we have to do. Take the ball again and try again.”

This is Klopp’s vision of positive off-ball play, with his tactical outlook focussed on counter-pressing, and isolating players like Redmond saw the Reds successful stymie Southampton‘s threat.

In their last 10 games, Liverpool are now working in line with third-placed Manchester City and fourth-placed Arsenal, who have conceded nine and eight goals during that stretch respectively.

Klopp is certainly witnessing an improvement in his side’s performance at the back, and while victory over Southampton would have been preferable, a second clean sheet of the season is a marker of progress.

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