Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s ongoing defensive struggles this season have been “really hard” for him.
The Reds have conceded 11 goals in six Premier League games – only Crystal Palace, West Ham and Leicester City have conceded more – while scoring 12.
Liverpool came close to surrendering a two-goal lead during their 3-2 win at Leicester on Saturday but managed to hold on after Simon Mignolet saved a penalty from Jamie Vardy with 20 minutes remaining and Klopp admits his side have lacked defensive solidity.
The German said: “It’s obvious we concede too many, there’s no doubt. That’s really hard for me. Usually, I’m a really good defensive coach, but obviously that has worked not too well so far.”
Liverpool were interested in signing Southampton centre-half Virgil Van Dijk in the summer but were forced to end their pursuit of the Dutchman after making an alleged illegal approach.
Klopp ultimately elected not to sign anyone to bolster the centre of his defence, with left-back Andrew Robertson the only defensive addition, and the Liverpool boss insists he is happy with the squad he has.
“We will be fine. It’s how it is. I have faith, not only offensive, but in our squad. I like to have this,” Klopp said.
“I know we need results. I like this team. Maybe nobody else likes it, I really like it and I want to improve it together.
“Sometimes you need a punch in the face and we have had already a few – not too hard. [Manchester] City was hard, that was the only one.
“We were not really on the floor, but we always got up. We are here and we play good football. I like the shape we play.”
Mignolet is establishing himself as an accomplished penalty stopper and has now saved seven of the 15 he has faced since joining Liverpool in June 2013.
But the Belgian international was just relieved to atone for his error in conceding the penalty in the first place, though he does feel it was harshly awarded by referee Anthony Taylor.
“The penalty was not really a penalty, I touched the ball. If any other player on the pitch makes that challenge it wouldn’t look as bad as it does now,” Mignolet said.
“I’m not interested in records or how good my penalty record is, the main thing is it gained us three points. That’s what we needed and what we can build on.
“We can take a lot of positives out of the game, even though it was an up-and-down-the-pitch one. We fought for it, we had to dig in and we showed character to get the result we needed.
“That’s never easy, especially in the position we’re in.”