Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool and Manchester City need time to adjust to their new strikers and said his team must learn to give Darwin Nunez less of the ball.
Nunez will make his competitive debut for Liverpool in Saturday’s Community Shield, where City could bow out to Erling Haaland following his £51million move from Borussia Dortmund.
Both teams have become accustomed to playing with false nines in recent years, while their summer signings are more traditional center forwards and Klopp believes both will adapt.
He still expects Haaland, who scored for City against Bayern Munich in a friendly, to be productive in the meantime but feels his players need to learn that part of Nunez’s value lies in his ability to pull the defense down and make room for others .
He said: “Erling scored a Manchester City goal, a square ball in the six-yard box and not much has changed so far. They have the same problem as us, they are not used to Erling’s natural runs, just like we are not nor used to Darwin’s natural runs.
“When Darwin offers a run we give him the ball all the time, which isn’t helpful because a lot of the time there’s a guy stretching the opponent to make space between the lines, things like that.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll need time for Erling, but that doesn’t mean he can’t score as early as he did in the first game against Bayern.”
He believes City haven’t changed their game plan significantly, adding: “Most things look like last year: how they’ve set up the press, how flexible they are in their own ownership, it’s good, very, very good, but so far no real change is evident.”
Liverpool finished second to City last season despite having 92 points, but Klopp, who was also second in 2019 with 97, insisted it doesn’t drive him crazy to be so good without winning the title.
“No, this is sport,” he said. “We’ve lost games like this when both teams play at an incredibly high level and one thing makes the difference; such as the Champions League final – that is one goal. That’s part of the deal. That can happen at the end of the season with a score. No, it didn’t drive me crazy and neither did the players.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/liverpool-manchester-city-darwin-nunez-haaland-b2134278.html Liverpool and Darwin Nunez are still learning how to play together, admits Jurgen Klopp