Sunderland are “the most defensive team I ever saw” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after his side continued their fine start to the season with a win.
The Reds had 27 shots and 77.5% possession as goals from Divock Origi and James Milner earned a 2-0 win.
Klopp said that Sunderland striker Victor Anichebe played “left-back” as the Black Cats used “nine defenders”.
“That’s the most difficult thing in world football to come through,” said Klopp. “But we worked for the moment.”
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The victory leaves Liverpool second in the Premier League, ahead of Manchester City on goal difference and one point behind leaders Chelsea.
Asked if the game compared in any way to Liverpool’s goalless draw at Southampton last week, Klopp said: “I’m not sure I’ve ever played against a more defensive team than today.
“Man-marking against Phil Coutinho, Anichebe left full-back, I don’t know how many touches Jermain Defoe had, so that would not be nice to Southampton.
“Sunderland always play a defensive style and that is OK. We forced them to be that. But we had our moments, had our chances, we stayed cool, stayed concentrated.”
Sunderland’s 22.5% possession is the second-lowest achieved by a team in a Premier League match this season, behind the 19.6% Burnley managed in beating Liverpool 2-0 in August – the last defeat that Klopp’s side suffered.
Black Cats manager David Moyes said afterwards his foremost objective was to stop Liverpool, though his side did have chances, notably when Duncan Watmore was denied with the game goalless.
“For long periods, we had frustrated the crowd,” said Moyes, whose side are bottom of the table. “We did a really good job on them.
“If you look at the quality of Liverpool going forward, you do need to think about how you stop them.”
There were other signs of a difficult afternoon for the Black Cats:
- Jason Denayer played just seven passes despite playing the full match in midfield, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson played 128
- Jermain Defoe had just 18 touches, two of which were to take kick-offs
- Central defenders Lamine Kone and John O’Shea played a total of 10 passes in the Liverpool half. Their opposite numbers Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren played 105 in the Sunderland half
Despite the away side’s difficulties Klopp appeared frustrated prior to his side getting the breakthrough and replicated a move he sometimes used when he was manager at Borussia Dortmund in gesturing to his supporters to create more noise.
“In a game like this the decisions are made in the small moment, in the detail,” added the German.
“Atmosphere is more than a detail, but it makes everything easier. That’s why I tried to remind the crowd, and they reacted more than brilliantly.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38119545