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5 key things from Klopp’s pre-Porto press conference – including avoiding ‘team leak’

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Jurgen Klopp knows history means nothing when Liverpool face Porto on Tuesday, with a new team presenting different challenges for the Reds in Portugal.

Here are five key things from Klopp’s press conference, which was held at Kirkby:

 

1. Looking for a response in defence

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 25, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker looks dejected as Brentford score an equalising goal to level the score 3-3 during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds turned back the clock at Brentford, conceding three goals thanks to an uncharacteristically unorganised defensive performance – as a backline and as a team.

It took much of the focus after the game as three goals should have been more than enough to have sealed all three points, and while Klopp is not overly concerned he knows his team need to improve.

“It’s not that much of a concern, but we have to show a reaction. It’s tricky to win a game when you aren’t defending on your highest level and that’s what we didn’t do.

“It wasn’t just the last line, in general, we had a problem with our defending. We have to improve in that department, for sure.”

No better time to start than at Porto.

 

2. Keeping cards close to the chest

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 27, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There will be no tactical training in Portugal on the day of the game, with Klopp acknowledging that prying eyes will all lead back to their opposition.

“All the people in Porto are then still Portuguese so when we train the information will get out so we cannot do shape tomorrow morning so we had to do everything today.”

It condenses Liverpool’s schedule further following a late finish at Brentford on Saturday night, but excuses are not on the table.

 

3. Preparing for a “top team”

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Wednesday, April 17, 2019: Liverpool players walk out before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at Estádio do Dragão. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have had the upper hand over Porto in recent meetings, with the two visits to Estadio do Dragao ending in an aggregate scoreline of 9-1, but it has no bearing on this game.

“It’s not an advantage at all that we won the last two games there…They are a top side, no doubt about that.

“They qualify year in and year out for the Champions League, they are always first or second in the Portuguese league and that’s what we are preparing for not the team we beat in the past.”

 

4. A big squad will travel

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 27, 2021: Liverpool players walk out before a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds had 25 players training at Kirkby on Monday, with only Thiago and Harvey Elliott absent as Naby Keita made his return from a minor injury sustained at Norwich.

And with no new concerns, “a big squad will travel, 23 players with us,” Klopp said which means he has to leave behind two players who trained on Monday as the matchday squad is capped at 23.

Youth goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga will be one of those names and perhaps Nat Phillips.

 

5. An expanded leadership group

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 27, 2021: Liverpool's (L-R) Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and captain Jordan Henderson during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Gini Wijnaldum having left in the summer, Liverpool lost one of the four members of their leadership group.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Virgil van Dijk all remained but with the captain’s armband having been passed around all too frequently due to injuries last season, Klopp said “it made sense to increase the group.”

It went to a player vote, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Alisson all coming out on top in Liverpool’s new-look six-man leadership group.

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