(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his team must become unpredictable to return to winning ways, as last season’s Premier League and Champions League runners-up look to recover from a poor start to the campaign.
Liverpool challenged on all four fronts last season thanks to their counter-pressing style, but they have struggled to replicate that form and are languishing in ninth place in the league after winning two of their seven games so far.
Their disjointed performances led to Klopp fielding a four-man attack of Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez against Rangers in the Champions League on Wednesday, with the move resulting in a morale-boosting 2-0 victory.
Klopp cautioned against saying he has found a solution to Liverpool’s woes but said the team’s ability to alternate between systems could make things more difficult for opponents, starting with league leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
“It’s more important that we become unpredictable again, so we need different systems,” Klopp told reporters on Friday. “We don’t want to make it more complicated than it needs to be but we need to find the best one for our next opponent and for us.
“Teams have worked out how to play against us when we’re not at our best… There’s no system in the world with no weakness. It’s all about how we perform and what we did and with what intensity.
“We are still a work in progress to find a way out. So you cannot say now we’re back, we need consistency. I am not interested in this short-term. We have to be good until we are outstanding.”
Klopp heaped praise on Arsenal and their manager Mikel Arteta after the north London side’s flying start to the season but said he hoped to “cause them problems” at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are a point clear of champions Manchester City after winning seven of their opening eight games.
“All my respect, wow,” Klopp said. “It’s a really, really good job from Mikel. When you need some time, nobody wants to give you time… He has a young, exciting team doing really well.”
Andy Robertson and Curtis Jones are back in training and closing on returns, Klopp added. Midfielder Arthur Melo will miss Sunday’s game with a muscle injury, while Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain sidelined.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)