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Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tasted their first defeat this season at the hands of Manchester City and it was a bitter one, as it turned out to be the German manager’s heaviest defeat ever as a manager. Sadio Mane’s red card did make a difference but letting in five unanswered goals was never going to be pretty for their confidence.
They now go into the Champions League game against Sevilla on Wednesday and though they will be at full strength, Jurgen Klopp certainly needs to make a few changes, not to his personnel but to his tactics, to get Liverpool back on track. It would be stupid to read too much into the loss at the Etihad but here are three tactical flaws that Klopp needs to sort out immediately this season:
The Reds have decent quality in the full-back area but no experience what so ever. With English star Nathaniel Clyne out injured, Klopp has used Joe Gomez and Alexandre-Arnold at right-back while Alberto Moreno has been given another chance at left-back, keeping Andrew Robertson on the bench. This has made the Reds susceptible to attacks from the flanks and Klopp needs to make sure that they do not allow their opponents so much time on the ball on the wings just outside the box.
Having failed to land their top transfer target Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have had to stick with Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan at the back, partnering first-choice centre-half Joel Matip. Klavan had a shocker against City but Lovren has not filled fans with confidence either, leaving Liverpool in a glut early in the season. This has been their biggest problem ever since Klopp took over and having failed to solve it in the transfer window, Klopp should quickly settle for one combination and stick to it if he wants his side to have a better defensive record.
And finally, something Klopp is not really known for is his tactical changes during the game. Since moving to Anfield, Klopp has not had too much of joy with his substitutes coming on to the pitch. Though it is due to a lack of quality in the squad, a lot of responsibility should also be shouldered by the manager. The fans have often criticised his decision to make changes either too late in the game or in positions that do not need a change. It is hard to understand what the manager wants when he makes such changes but with those decisions backfiring continuously, he will surely have to rethink his strategies, especially about how he uses players from the bench, during the games.