Liverpool can't afford to focus only on hotshot Haaland: Klopp

AFP , Friday 14 Oct 2022

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he cannot afford to focus too heavily on in-form striker Erling Haaland in Sunday's clash against Manchester City as the champions have too many threats elsewhere.



The Norway international has scored 20 times this season, including 15 Premier League goals, and will pose a huge threat at Anfield.

City and Liverpool have been the dominant forces in the English top flight in recent seasons but Klopp's side have started the current campaign slowly, winning just two of their first eight league games.

The Anfield side are languishing in 10th spot in the table, already 13 points behind second-placed City, who have smashed in 33 goals in just nine Premier League games.

Liverpool kept Haaland quiet in the FA Community Shield, the curtain-raiser to the new season, but the 22-year-old has since scored in every game for City in all competitions except one.

"Like always when you play against the best striker in the world, you have to make sure he doesn't get that many balls," Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

"That is what you have to defend before you come into the challenge with him so that is what we will try.

"But against City the problem is if you close Haaland down with too many players then you open up gaps for all the other world-class players so that will not make life easier.

"It's a challenge, a football problem but we try and find solutions."

Liverpool came up against Haaland twice in the Champions League in 2019, when he was a raw 19-year-old playing for Red Bull Salzburg, and he scored in one of the games.

Klopp said his potential at even that tender age was "insane".

"Physically he sets new standards, the combination of being really physical and technical. His orientation on the pitch is exceptional -- he knows always where the decisive gaps are and is barely offside -- so many things for making a striker.

"(He has) some of the best players around him in the world in setting up goals and finding the right moments for the passes: Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, (Riyad) Mahrez -- they are all really good at that so it's a perfect fit, no doubt about that."

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