Why Liverpool could not implement Klopp plan

Liverpool lacked their usual intensity in Sunday’s surprise two- defeat at Newcastle since Jurgen Klopp did not choose a team that could implement his gameplan.

Liverpool's starting line-up vs Newcastle

Liverpool lined up in a 4-two-three-1 formation against Newcastle, with Christian Benteke leading their attack

With Newcastle in such poor type and so nervy, on prime of the way his side have been counter-attacking so effectively of late, I believed beforehand that it would be a game that would play into Klopp’s hands.

But the Reds have been never on the front foot higher up the pitch in the identical way they had been against, say, Manchester City when they won four-1 at the Etihad Stadium last month.

In that game Liverpool’s forwards were putting City’s centre-halves and full-backs under continual stress and setting traps for them anytime they have been on the ball.

Against Newcastle, in contrast, they allowed the residence group to slowly develop into the game and the Magpies went on to win it convincingly.

The Magpies have been the very first team to run further and make a lot more sprints than Liverpool in a Premier League game since Klopp took charge, but matching the Reds’ operate-price was not the only reason they won.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool’s defeat at St James’ Park was their first in six away matches under Klopp, and only his second in 12 games as Reds boss

‘Liverpool lacked intensity up front’

Liverpool’s basic stats against Newcastle – their total distance covered and quantity of sprints – were typical of the type of figures we have noticed in some of their impressive wins under Klopp, but anything was clearly missing from their functionality, and it began up front.

Liverpool in the Premier League below Klopp

Opposition Result Distance covered (km) Sprints

Tottenham (a)

D –



Southampton (h)

D 1-1



Chelsea (a)

W three-1



C Palace (h)

L 1-2



Man City (a)

W four-1



Swansea (h)

W 1-



Newcastle (a)

L -two



Klopp clearly had a program, and a purpose, for going with Christian Benteke to lead his attack, as opposed to the front three he had against City when he did not field a recognised striker.

That was often going to imply a drop in the quantity of higher intensity pressing his group were able to do from the front, simply because Benteke is not truly that sort of player.

Liverpool striker Christian Benteke

Benteke had made the fewest touches of any Liverpool outfield player (31) when he was replaced by Adam Lallana after 62 minutes. He had one particular shot, which was off target – Liverpool did not have a shot on target till the 89th minute

Take Benteke out and replace him with an additional attacking midfielder and you are automatically going to get far more intensity high up the pitch.

There was an additional significant distinction in midfield at St James’ Park, with Emre Can missing due to the fact of suspension.

That meant Klopp had a midfield of Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva, who are each much more like holding players, compared to Can, who is far a lot more dynamic and operates box-to-box.

I am not saying Benteke – or Allen and Lucas – have been completely to blame for Liverpool’s defeat but with each other they were contributing variables, and I consider Klopp got his team incorrect this time.

Lucas and Allen’s touches for Liverpool vs Newcastle

Lucas Leiva Joe Allen
Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen's touches vs Newcastle

Amongst them, Lucas (102) and Allen (78) had 180 touches against Newcastle, but only three of them were inside the Newcastle location, all by Allen

‘It will take eight-12 months to apply Klopp’s stamp’

Sunday’s defeat showed Klopp is nonetheless attempting to operate out the strengths and weaknesses of the players in his squad, and discovering out who can fit into his gameplan.

He made six changes from Wednesday’s 6-1 Capital One Cup win at Southampton, and he is naturally providing all of his players an opportunity, which is a positive point. I feel the explanation he did not seem also down right after losing to Newcastle was that he realises it is element of the approach.

Game was not the most significant exciting – Klopp

It will possibly be about eight to 12 months, and at least a couple of transfer windows, ahead of he genuinely puts a stamp on this team.

I was talking to a quantity of Liverpool fans ahead of the Newcastle game and their feelings appear to alter all the time about what they can accomplish this season – one week they are a operate in progress, the subsequent they are back in the big time.

It is also soon to get carried away. There have been some genuinely encouraging signs and glimpses of what Klopp is capable of but there have also been blips – like Sunday – where you are reminded he is only two months into the job.

Joey Barton was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.