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SPORTS

Klopp insists Liverpool improvement is needed

FOOTBALL By Reuters | December 29th 2021 | 3 min read
Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi in action with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. [Reuters]

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said his side cannot even think about being able to catch Premier League leaders Manchester City if they put in more performances like their showing in a 1-0 defeat by Leicester City on Tuesday.

Klopp’s side slipped to just their second league loss of the season at the King Power Stadium to leave them trailing City, who beat Leicester 6-3 on Boxing Day to make it nine league wins in a row, by six points from 19 games this campaign.

“It was not our plan tonight to give City the chance to run away,” Klopp told reporters.

“If we play like tonight we do not think about catching up with City.

“But if we play our football we can see what that means (for the title race).

“I don’t have a proper explanation for tonight. To find one is my main concern, not how City are doing.”

Liverpool had a host of chances in the match, including a Mohamed Salah penalty, but the Egyptian’s second-ever Premier League miss from the spot, along with some similarly poor finishing from others in red, meant Liverpool were frustrated.

“We needed some effort not to score tonight,” Klopp added. “We had quite a few chances.

“I didn’t like the intensity even in the beginning but sometimes we have starts like this and we lost rhythm and never found it back.

“Tonight I didn’t like a lot in our game so we have to do better. We just weren’t ourselves.”

Leicester have struggled to replicate their form from the last two seasons, when they narrowly missed out on a top-four finish on both occasions, this campaign.

But they battled to get back into the game at leaders Manchester City on Boxing Day and again worked incredibly hard on Tuesday, against a much fresher Liverpool, and this time their efforts were rewarded with three points.

“Given the context of the game on the back of Sunday (against City), the players put in a heroic performance given the recovery time and having played City,” Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers said.

“The players were amazing how they coped. We had to defend for our lives. I am really pleased for the players tonight.

Meanwhile, Chelsea left back Ben Chilwell will undergo knee surgery that is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old hasn’t played since picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Chelsea’s Champions League group win against Juventus on November 23.

“After a knee injury in the match against Juventus the Chelsea medical department, in collaboration with their knee specialist, took the decision to attempt a conservative rehab approach,” the club said in a statement.

“Unfortunately Ben was unable to progress and so collectively the decision has been taken to proceed this week with a surgical repair.”

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