Klopp ‘liked’ Liverpool display, explains why defence ‘struggled’

Ian Watson
Liverpool Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp was satisfied with Liverpool’s performance in the thrilling victory over Leeds despite the concession of three goals.

The champions began their title defence by sharing seven goals with Marcelo Bielsa’s visitors, with Mo Salah netting a hat-trick.

Salah opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty but Leeds hit back through a maiden Premier League goal from Jack Harrison. Virgil Van Dijk then traded goals with Patrick Bamford and Salah saw his 33rd-minute half-volley cancelled out by Mateusz Klich’s second-half effort, making it 3-3.

A foul on Fabinho by Leeds’ club-record signing Rodrigo saw Salah hold his nerve with only minutes remaining to get the Reds over the line.

“I said before the game we would struggle against them because the way they play is uncomfortable and it is different to all the other teams,” he said.

“If you don’t respect the opponent they kill you in a football way and I liked a lot the attitude of my team today. I have to say they just don’t stop, I like it.

“I didn’t see us struggling defensively but the way they play you cannot defend 100 per cent of the time.

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“I congratulated everyone of their team, what a team they are. Unbelievable. I will watch them quite often during the season.

“What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that.

“It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game, we have left space for improvement in our defending but that is not unusual for a first game. Our players have played a few days ago for their countries so it is possible.

“The opponent forced us to make mistakes, we can do better, we will do better but I loved a lot about the game against a well-organised, passionate side like Leeds. We used our skills to cause them problems, we could have scored more and in the end we used set-pieces which is fine by me.

“It is not like riding a bike, you can lose something in pre-season and it takes time to all come together again. I am really positive about this game. Leeds will have a good season if they can keep up that intensity and they did it in the Championship with more games so why not?”