Liverpool are a fair team who play in the image of their manager, but even Jurgen Klopp wants his side to master the dark arts after seeing it ‘constantly’ used against his side.
‘Take one for the team’, it is a cliche but an important one for teams to realise when it is appropriate to play smart and be tactical.
Liverpool could have used that against Man City last week when Nathan Ake was allowed to waltz forward, you may have been begging for someone to take him down and take the punishment on the chin.
The same could be said against Fulham, as Liverpool conceded just six free-kicks in the 4-3 win.
And Klopp has hinted at wanting to see more of those tactical fouls from his side, as opposition teams do it all the time and with little to no punishment.
“Protection is not having four players at the back, protection is if you lose the ball you try and win it back,” Klopp told LFCTV.
“The other teams against us, constant tactical fouls and, obviously, that’s not a yellow card any more – I don’t know when that died!
“But against us, constantly, it’s like, ‘bring him down, bring him down’. Okay. We never do that.
“I cannot explain exactly why, it’s not that I say ‘never tactical foul x5000’ or whatever, not at all.
“In an ideal world, you win the ball and attack again, but if it’s not possible, what can you say.”
In the title-winning season in 2019/20, it was something Liverpool got a lot better at doing, tapping into the dark arts and becoming a little nastier.
Now, we have had an absurd amount of red cards this season but none were thanks to being cynical or taking the nastiness to an unwanted level – it’s not this that Klopp wants more of.
But having seen teams stem Liverpool’s momentum by pulling them down or dragging them back with little to any punishment, it’s no wonder the manager wants to see more tactical fouls from his side.
Liverpool 2.0 are creating a foundation of resilience with one comeback after another, but they also need to become more streetwise as a collective – it’s what all the best teams do.