Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp plays down Reds' much-discussed 'midfield problem'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during a training session on 5 January, 2022 at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp has denied that Liverpool (opens in new tab)'s struggles this season stem from their midfield – the focus of much attention in recent months.

As the Reds prepare to begin their FA Cup defence with the third-round visit of Wolves (opens in new tab) on Saturday night, they sit sixth in the Premier League – 16 points behind leaders Arsenal (opens in new tab), having lost 3-1 at Brentford (opens in new tab) last time out.

That was the fifth defeat of the campaign already for Liverpool – who again looked all too easy to play against at times, prompting yet more questions about the strength of their midfield department, where it's been speculated they could strengthen in January.

But Klopp has pointed to wider structural issues, dismissing any suggestion that signing a midfielder would serve as some sort of magic solution. Speaking ahead of the Wolves clash, the German said (opens in new tab):

"It's a general problem, not a midfield problem. Defending starts up front: if you don't defend there then the midfield has no chance. Balance might be a problem. Not so much in the last game as the goals we conceded were two from set-pieces and one from a counter-attack; there weren't long balls being played through the midfield.

"It's not so much that one midfield player could sort that; it's about us doing it collectively in the right manner. The way we want to defend is clear. I can't analyse the game differently when we lose or win. If it's right, it's right; if it's not right, it's not right. That will never change. Am I completely happy with the play? No, definitely not. But it's not a midfield problem; it's a general thing..."

Liverpool return to Premier League action with a trip to Brighton (opens in new tab) next Saturday afternoon.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...