Jurgen Klopp has apparently admitted that the current lack of a holding midfielder in the Liverpool squad means the Reds’ formation for their season opener will be a temporary solution.
Liverpool, whose third bid for Romeo Lavia was turned down by Southampton on Monday, are without a specialist holding midfielder going into the new season – a far from ideal situation.
Pre-season has seen Trent Alexander-Arnold, novice James McConnell, Curtis Jones, and, on Monday, Alexis Mac Allister, all try out for the No.6 role in midfield.
Post-match Klopp told LFCTV: “Now we have to find, in the next five or six days, a formation for the Chelsea game, not for the whole season, and then we go from there.”
The boss lauded Mac Allister in the holding role, hinting that the Argentine is most likely to take up the role temporarily at least.
“He’s a top class player, on the ball and without the ball,” praised Klopp.
“We had our moments when we were too open that’s clear, but we are not used to him [playing there], we have to work on it and we will do that and test a couple of different things.
“In a compact formation Alexis can play there definitely. If he’s there alone, then, no.
“He showed how good he is and how good he understands the game. He did really well.”
Elsewhere, Klopp noted the pleasing aspects of the goals from set pieces and some good work in the high press, but also acknowledged the defensive problems that have fans concerned:
“[We] conceded again one that we should not concede, it’s an obvious mistake which we spoke already about.
“But that’s how it is with mistakes; you do it once, you talk about it, that doesn’t mean you sort it immediately but the situation is clear that the diagonal protection is not there.
“We cannot avoid each pass in behind our [defensive] line, we just have to then make sure we are in better positions.”
Klopp noted that there were no injuries “the most important thing”, and that he is “really happy” with the physical side of the pre-season preparations.
“There’s some football stuff we have to sort, but that’s normal,” he added. “The pre-season never ends after the first Premier League game.”
The manager didn’t speak to the wider media post-match, only speaking to the club’s in-house TV channel, so there were no questions on Lavia or any other potential transfer business.