Football Expert & Columnist
Nissan Match Zone: Jamie Carragher meets Jurgen Klopp ahead of Liverpool v Man Utd
Last Updated: 14/10/17 11:50am
Jamie Carragher sat down with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in our new Nissan Match Zone to discuss Philippe Coutinho's best position, Man Utd's style of play and more...
We will be taking our touchscreen analysis on the road throughout the Premier League season, providing in-depth interviews with players and managers to bring you closer to action.
Liverpool boss Klopp is the first person stepping into the Nissan Match Zone ahead of his side's huge clash against Manchester United at Anfield, live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Here are some of the highlights from Carragher's conversation with the Reds boss...
On Man Utd's defensive shape...
KLOPP: They have played with three at the back and four at the back already, we all know it's a very experienced team. They are not passive defensively, they are deep and work together with maybe one or two players still up front. Maybe that's Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford. It could be five players in their last line or even six or seven.
What they are doing this year which is a little different to last year is they have this high formation in the early moments when the other team has possession. It is not intense, they give you the opportunity to play, but they are very good - especially with Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba - defending these situations.
When they go a little bit deeper they have Rashford hidden and Henrikh Mkhitaryan running with the ball and we don't have to talk about Lukaku. He likes those situations.
How do you plan to break them down?
KLOPP: We create a lot of chances against teams, it's not about whether that's Man Utd or not. A lot of teams play this way and we create chances against them.
For this week against Man Utd doing something special is quite difficult. The Brazilians came back yesterday, Philippe Coutinho didn't train, so we have one session today.
We have to build on the things we have done so far and we need to protect our attacking situations. I don't know the line-up - maybe Jose Mourinho doesn't know at this moment - but if Juan Mata plays he will be in the half-space, Rashford will be wider, Lukaku is the free agent going wherever he wants to go. Then there is Mkhitaryan in the centre of the park, where we have to protect against situations.
On the other hand we have to play ourselves, we cannot give them the ball and see what happens. We have to do our own stuff and protect as well as possible.
There will always be spaces, it is a hard game between two quality sides. It will be difficult, there is no easy way but we know where we want to go. We have done it a lot of times, we have played many teams that were more defensive than us and we still created chances. Big chances but we didn't use them often enough.
We have to be more clinical and more ruthless in the very last third.
What is Coutinho's best position?
KLOPP: He is an outstandingly good player. All the technical skills he has are fantastic but he is also tactically a very good player. He knows how to use different spaces. That's why it is easy for him to switch from an '8' to a winger or a '10'. He is good at shooting and good at passing so he can make the difference.
He is quick enough to play on the wing too. On the Brazilian team he plays on the right because Neymar is on the left and Gabriel Jesus is through the centre. He can play different positions.
Phil is really smart in his defensive tactical play, he is in the right spaces and gets there early enough. It doesn't look intense for him, he doesn't need to run like crazy back to his own goal.
When I came in, the '10' would not have been his best position because too often players were at his back. But in each of the positions we now play him he ends up as a '10'. He decides when and that's what makes it easier for him.
On the left he can come inside to the half-space and from the centre he can move to the left wing. It is natural for him to move inside and score. For the Brazilian team he does the same from the right and finishes with the left foot.
I don't think it makes a lot of sense to think, 'Where is his best position?' Having him on the pitch is a good thing to have.
I don't believe too much in positions anyway. When we have a system everybody knows their first responsibility to defend and the rest should be fluent, it should be flexible with different movements. The best thing is just to have him on the pitch.
Does your attacking philosophy leave Liverpool vulnerable defensively?
KLOPP: We have to attack with at least six players. A cross from the left to one guy in the box could lead to a goal but it is unlikely. Having a second player makes three in attack, then having three more around the box getting the second balls brings us to six.
Then we have to protect the deeper spaces so that means two centre-halves around the opponent's No 9. If they gamble a little bit you need to know where one full-back is and a central midfielder needs to be a short distance away - moving with the ball - to understand the situation. Four players in protection should be enough as long as you change it all the time.
We have a formation that means we need to be safe in our passing. When one player decides to give Phil the ball surrounded by three opponents - that works sometimes - but it's too much risk. We need to keep the ball rolling.
Where can Liverpool improve?
KLOPP: When I came in the team was not full of confidence - we didn't talk a lot about offensive things, it was all defensive - because first of all we needed to settle. Now we have the ball pretty much all the time so we have to play. It is still a process to adapt to this.
We have to be active and we have to protect our own situations but this development is obviously not done so we have things to do.
We are a good side but we have been speaking since the beginning of the season about how we didn't buy a defender in the summer. This becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy because every mistake we make goes back to that.
The boys know this, they don't feel the confidence. They are good enough but we always have to improve. We don't say it's a little bit of luck and this changes. The challenge for us is to stay confident and play football even when we don't get the results we want.
Look at our situation - we are a little bit far off the top of the table. Does anybody doubt we would have usually won the Burnley game? It was the best Burnley game I have been part of. The same with the Newcastle game, it was much better than the last game. We did really well, they weren't really a part of the game, we were defending with big hearts and passion and they had one situation and they scored a goal.
We don't have to think too much about performance. We have to improve of course in defending our offensive situations. We are not being out-played, teams are not playing their way past us. It is counter-attacking [that has undone us] and we could have done better to stop this, especially at Newcastle. Most of the time, though, we do really well.
If you don't have the results, you must stay confident and deliver again. That's not easy but so far we have done it so I'm happy with that. There is a lot of expectation on us and that's good. I think we show a lot of potential and that's what I want to use.
Watch the full interview with Jurgen Klopp at 8pm on Friday on Sky Sports Premier League and don't forget to watch Liverpool v Manchester United on the same channel from 11.30am on Saturday
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