Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are not playing as a team and need to reinvent themselves after defeat to Napoli


 Liverpool got their Champions League campaign off to the worst possible start with a 4-1 defeat at Napoli; Jurgen Klopp believes his side are not playing as a team and must reinvent themselves; Liverpool have won just two of their seven games this season

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are not playing as a team at the moment following their chastening 4-1 defeat to Napoli in the Champions League - and has urged his side to "reinvent" themselves quickly.

The Reds got their Champions League group stage campaign off to the worst possible start in southern Italy, with last season's runners-up finding themselves 3-0 down at half-time due to Piotr Zielinski's penalty and goals from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone.

That three-goal margin could have been four had Alisson Becker not saved Victor Osimhen's first-half penalty - but Napoli found that fourth goal immediately after half-time as Zielinski tapped home. Luis Diaz's consolation goal could only spark a small revival.

Klopp's Liverpool have now only won two out of their seven matches in all competitions this season and the German believes his team needs to be better in "pretty much everything".

"It was really tough to take but I would say not that difficult to explain," Klopp told BT Sport. "Firstly, Napoli played really well and we didn't. That is the first explanation for the defeat. The two penalties we concede, they were both a little unlucky.

"The next two goals we concede are handed to them on a plate. That is not cool and we should have defended better in the first place and, of course, in the last moment as well.

"We were not compact defensively or offensively. With Alisson in goal you have to be really bad to concede three goals [in the first half]. You could see it on the pitch. We were not working as a team. That is why we lose games."

Liverpool's next match sees them take on Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday and Klopp believes Bruno Lage's side should be "laughing" at the prospect of playing his side.

"We need to reinvent ourselves," the Reds boss added. "There are a lot of things lacking, not in all games but the fun thing is we have to do it in the middle of the Premier League season and a Champions League campaign. We need a set-up to be better in pretty much everything."

"We have to play in three days against Wolves. If Wolves saw that game tonight they would not stop laughing and would say it is the perfect moment."

Klopp: I won't get sack like Tuchel - our owners are calm

The Liverpool manager also reacted to Thomas Tuchel's sacking by Chelsea on Wednesday night, with the Blues one point ahead of Klopp's team in the Premier League.

Klopp admitted that he is not expecting to be under pressure in the same way Tuchel was - despite Chelsea and Liverpool enduring similar starts to the season - and says he has the full backing of the Reds hierarchy.

When asked if he is worried about his own future after Tuchel's dismissal earlier on Wednesday, Klopp said: "Not really, but who knows?

"The difference is they [Chelsea's owners] are different kind of owners. Our owners are rather calm and expect me to sort the situation and are not thinking that someone else should sort it."

Liverpool's machine looks broken in Naples
It was a tough day for Champions League-winning German coaches in the Premier League but while Thomas Tuchel's travails with Chelsea are now over, Jurgen Klopp's problems are an ongoing concern following Liverpool's chastening 4-1 defeat to Napoli.

The result equalled the biggest defeat that the club has suffered in the Champions League and it could have been far worse. Alisson saved a penalty and Virgil van Dijk cleared from near the line in the first half. Napoli's substitutes were wasteful late on.

There were individual errors to alarm. Joe Gomez was culpable on three occasions and hooked at half-time. Trent Alexander-Arnold appears to regard it as an affront to his creative instincts to sully himself with tracking runners. Van Dijk looked sluggish.

But it was the fourth starting defender who summed up the problem facing his fellow defenders when speaking afterwards. "We were miles too open," explained Andy Robertson. "You cannot come to a place like this and not be compact."

It is the lack of pressure on the ball that makes a mockery of Klopp's high defensive line and means that the problems facing the Liverpool manager are a little more complex than simply switching his defensive personnel - as he did when sending for Joel Matip.

At their best, Liverpool are a machine of a team, the system being their source of strength as much as the individual quality. At their worst, the opposite occurs. The system breaks down and suddenly the once imperious individuals find themselves woefully exposed.

As Klopp saw it, the Liverpool midfield was too wide. One wonders whether Harvey Elliott, as encouraging as his performances have been, does make them more open. James Milner is not finding it any easier to be the engine of this team as he approaches 37.

But there is some hope that the solutions can be found. Klopp noted that the sort of counter-pressing situations that he loves to see from his side only started to happen once the fit-again Thiago emerged from the bench. That will make Liverpool a better team.

Diogo Jota will take time to find his best form as he recovers from injury but his ability to go in search of the ball high up the pitch has been missed too - making Sadio Mane's absence more keenly felt in attack than it might have been. Liverpool can start pressing again.

The challenge now is to fix this team on the fly amid a congested calendar. Wolves go to Anfield on Saturday before Ajax are the visitors on Tuesday. Identifying the problems is the easy part for Klopp. The correction must come quickly to avoid talk of a crisis.
Adam Bate

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