Liverpool legend claims Leeds match showed Jurgen Klopp has ‘huge fundamental problem’

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has torn into Jurgen Klopp’s side and labelled their defending against Leeds United “an absolute shambles”. Liverpool beat Leeds 4-3 in a dramatic opening day match at Anfield. Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted side equalised on three occasions before Mohamed Salah sealed the three points from the penalty spot with only a few minutes remaining.

Leeds were well worth their goals and recorded slightly higher possession than the defending Premier League champions on the day.

But former full-back Nicol has torn into the defensive tactics of Liverpool’s backline.

The Scot believes there is a big problem that manager Klopp has to resolve in the coming weeks.

“You’ve got Liverpool’s back line trying to push up, almost on the halfway line,” Nicol said on ESPN FC.

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“That’s not ‘well it was one of those days’ type of things, that is a huge, fundamental problem.

“It doesn’t get any more basic than your backline closing when there’s no pressure on the ball. It really is a huge problem if you get it wrong.

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“When you get it wrong you see what happens today and if you don’t fix that, you’re in big, big trouble defensively.”

Virgil van Dijk was at fault for Leeds’ second goal through Patrick Bamford, failing to deal with a bouncing ball and allowing the striker to lift it past goalkeeper Alisson.

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But Nicol said it was as a group where Liverpool did not defend well enough.

He continued: “I don’t care how good you are as individuals, you have to defend as a group and they’re not defending as a group.

“I’m not talking about what’s in front of the backline, I’m talking about the actual back four. Whatever the back four did, they did it together last year when they were successful. That’s the key to it all.

“Whatever is going on in front of them, whether it’s good or bad, they’re the backline, it’s their job to be the backline, they’re the last line of defence.

“What they did well was they did every single thing together. They were up and down the field, whatever it was, together.

“What they’re doing now is they are all over the place. It’s an absolute shambles and it’s huge. You get this wrong and you’re going to lose goals for fun.

“When you start thinking about yourself and not the line, then you see what happened today. Absolute and utter shambles.”

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