Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the defensive issues on display against Brentford are not too much of a concern but they do not want to repeat those mistakes in today’s Champions League group game at Porto.
Klopp’s side came from a goal behind on Saturday to lead twice in an end-to-end match but conceded an 83rd-minute equaliser as Brentford secured a 3-3 draw.
“It’s not that much of a concern, but we have to show a reaction. It’s tricky to win a game when you aren’t defending on your highest level and that’s what we didn’t do,” Klopp told reporters yesterday.
“It wasn’t just the last line. In general, we had a problem with defending. Porto is a different team but we have to improve in that department. We spoke about it and know we cannot (defend) like that and we sorted that and have to show that tomorrow.”
Liverpool have had the upper hand against Porto in recent meetings, winning 5-0 and 4-1 on their last two visits to the Estadio do Dragao in 2018 and 2019. Klopp, however, insisted his team are not dwelling on the history between the sides.
“It’s not an advantage to have won the last two games there,” Klopp said. “We don’t count on points we don’t have already, it’s a tough group so we should not waste time to get points. Atletico (Madrid) v Porto was a tough one and if someone deserved to win it, it was Porto, so that says a lot. Last time we came back, we didn’t think about the 5-0 before it because it makes no sense. We are here often enough to know we cannot win a game before we play so that is it.”
Klopp said midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliott remain sidelined but there were no new injury concerns, with Naby Keita back in training after recovering from a foot injury.
Simeone admits Atletico need to change after stuttering start to season
Atletio Madrid coach Diego Simeone has conceded his side need to change things after an unconvincing start to the season. In LaLiga they were defeated 1-0 by lowly Alaves on Saturday, while their stalemate with Porto in their first Champions League Group B game earlier this month means they have little room for error when they face AC Milan today. “In a lot of the games we’ve played this season our opponents have stopped us from creating space,” Simeone said. “We’re on the back of a season that teams have been able to use to get to know us, and they work on what we’re good at. It’s down to us to evolve and change.”
Simeone has Thomas Lemar back from a thigh injury for the trip to a stadium he knows well, having spent two years at city rivals Inter Milan during his playing days. “We know we’re up against a tough opponent who have a good team and who play dynamic stuff,” Simeone said. “The chance to play against a side like Milan in the Champions League is great, the best teams. They’ve grown and improved a lot in the last few years and of course I like the stadium there.”
Stefan Savic, who is serving the second of a four game suspension carried over from last season, is the only player missing for Atleti. The group’s other game is Porto against Liverpool, who beat Milan 3-2 on the first matchday.
Meanwhile, AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli said the experience of defeat by Liverpool will make his team better prepared against Atletico Madrid. “We have seen that small details make the difference in these matches,” Pioli told a news conference.
“We conceded goals at Anfield because of some carelessness and technical errors, we need to play at a very high level; play simple, fast without making wrong decisions, because they can hurt you at any moment. We are talking about opponents who have played in the Champions League for years, who have reached finals. I believe the experience in Liverpool can help us to be more prepared and competitive against a very strong team.”
Pioli’s side are unbeaten in Serie A this season and head into the game on the back of wins over Venezia and Spezia. Atleti lost 1-0 at Alaves on Saturday and have one win in their last four in all competitions.
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