Jurgen Klopp is right to worry about a potential problem v Leeds United on Saturday. Liverpool suffered it against Arsenal in the Community Shield, too.
Klopp openly talked about his worry against Leeds in his pre-match press conference on Friday. The Liverpool boss believes his team need to be wary if they can’t match Leeds’ intensity.
“If we are not ready for intensity, we have a problem, 100 per cent, because they will be ready,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com. “They were always ready. Unfortunately, we don’t play them after they played six games in seven days, so they are pretty fresh, had a good pre-season, and now they will be completely charged.
“But we [will be] as well, so let’s give it a go.”
He clearly feels intensity can be a great problem against Marcelo Bielsa’s side – and with good reason. Bielsa is an intense manager and that rubs off on his players. They’ll be more than ready for this one.
Because not only are they a naturally intense side but this is a huge occasion for them. Leeds are back in the Premier League, after all – and it’s been a long time coming.
Now, usually, we wouldn’t be worried. Yes, Leeds are intense but Liverpool are about as intense as it gets. Their title-winning campaign was built on it and the Champions League win before that.
Yet, we are quite worried for Saturday.
The Community Shield defeat was bad. Arsenal are not a particularly good side – especially defensively – and yet they kept Liverpool’s star attack at bay for virtually the entire game.
Only Takumi Minamino’s introduction and a change of system turned things around. The Liverpool we’re used to simply wasn’t there.
The Reds lacked intensity, above all, and instead played plenty of lazy long balls. Even defensively, they weren’t at it. Arsenal’s goal came from the Gunners playing it out of defence – that’s not supposed to happen against Liverpool.
Even the 7-2 win over Blackpool had worrying signs. Liverpool went 2-0 down and didn’t really get going until the second half.
Now, hopefully, things just clicked at half-time of that game and they’ll carry their second-half showing into the Premier League opener.
But that’s merely a hope. The evidence is that Liverpool are struggling to get going at the moment and until they prove otherwise, Klopp is right to worry.