Klopp fires Leeds warning to Liverpool stars ahead of Premier League opener

Jurgen Klopp has told his Liverpool players they must be ready because Leeds will pose a stern test on Saturday.

Liverpool begin the defence of their Premier League crown against Leeds at Anfield and Klopp is wary of the threat posed by Marcelo Bielsa’s Championship winners.

The Reds boss knows Leeds will be difficult because of Bielsa’s high-pressing, intense style and says his players must be up for this challenge.

“We have to make sure we get ready for the first game against Leeds because that will be a really tough one,” said Klopp.

“Leeds have a specific style of play, man-marking over the whole pitch, and that makes it proper intense.

“We have to be ready for that, but we have a few days. Hopefully all the other boys now stay healthy in the international games, then they come back and we have three days to work together on that.”

Klopp feels Liverpool have made the best of their unusual four-week pre-season and he was frustrated, like every manager, to lose a chunk of his squad for the Nations League games.

He was more bothered by Liverpool’s defensive sloppiness in their pre-season games and they were 2-0 down early on against Blackpool at Anfield on Saturday before recovering to win 7-2.

They also conceded two early goals against Red Bull Salzburg because of mistakes and Klopp says they must be sharper.

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“It was because of a lack of aggression from our side, a lack of desire a little bit for this game – that’s how it is, playing around,” said Klopp after the Blackpool win.

“The goals we conceded, yeah, they’re mistakes and that’s typical for pre-season games.

“But so far I think we conceded pretty much all the goals in similar situations – losing the ball in the build-up, then it’s a counter-attack, it’s a free chance pretty much.

“We know that and it’s clear we cannot do it like this. We have to improve that.”

Joel Matip scored Liverpool’s first against Blackpool on his return from the foot injury he suffered in June, while skipper Jordan Henderson will resume full training tomorrow in a bid to be ready to face Leeds.

Klopp was also pleased to see Takumi Minamino score for the second game in succession after his first goal for the Reds against Arsenal in the Community Shield and hopes the Japanese will take confidence from that.

“I hope, a lot,” said the German. “It’s clear that’s what you always hope for. It’s important for Taki and important for us.

“We have to work to win football games, who scores is not too important. But for Taki, of course, it’s been a rather nice seven or eight days.”

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