Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund: What Jurgen Klopp Learned at Anfield
Borussia Dortmund concluded their pre-season training on Sunday with an incredibly humbling 4-0 defeat to Premier League side Liverpool at Anfield.
Despite playing a strong team in the first half, Jurgen Klopp's side found themselves two goals down after just 15 minutes, through some individual brilliance from Daniel Sturridge and a well-timed header from recent transfer Dejan Lovrens.
Things didn't get much better for the Bundesliga side as Liverpool added to their tally through Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson in the second half and doubling their team's lead.
In the end, only one team seemed interested in turning up, offering plenty of hope for Liverpool in the coming title race while Dortmund hobble back to Germany with plenty of questions to answer.
Here's what Klopp will hopefully have taken from such a defeat.
Dortmund's Defence Looked Far from Perfect
Dortmund's defence was far from up to scratch on Sunday. What we saw from the first goal, in only the 10th minute, was Daniel Sturridge’s blistering pace against a creaky Dortmund back line.
In a rather puzzling situation, Klopp had obviously advised his side to play their usual high line with a notion toward some aggressive closing down, yet as we saw at Anfield, it didn’t do his team any favours.
But it was from all over the defence that Liverpool chose to hurt Dortmund. Lovren's goal came from a poorly defended set piece, while Henderson's tap-in early in the second half came about from Sturridge simply walking into the German box, amid the puzzled looks of Marcel Schmelzer.
Is this porous performance the kind we can now expect when Klopp’s side play against better opposition in this season’s Champions League?
Dortmund Looked Sluggish Despite Strong Pre-Season
Although Dortmund have looked in fantastic form throughout their summer pre-season campaign, it was Liverpool who burst out of the gates first and truly surprised their German opponents in the opening period of the game.
We’ve already discussed Sturridge’s impressive opening goal in the 10th minute of the game, but what will bother Klopp the most will be Lovren’s finish just four minutes later. A double hit, and Dortmund were already on their way to a heavy defeat before the game had even started.
With the amount of silly, needless goals, we saw Klopp’s side concede last season, the enthusiastic coach will undoubtedly want to stress the need for concentration following Sunday’s game. This wasn't the focused, drilled Dortmund that we're used to watching in the Bundesliga.
Klopp Has Plenty of Options in Attack
One of the most notable aspects of Dortmund’s starting team at Anfield on Sunday was the introduction of Adrian Ramos as the sole striker, supported by Milos Jojic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Yet what most black and yellow fans will take comfort in is the fact that despite a rather dull and disappointing first half from the aforementioned three, Klopp was able to simply shake things up with the introduction of Ciro Immobile and Jonas Hofmann.
It would seem in just few months Dortmund have gone from a one-man-team following Robert Lewandowski’s every move to a side that can offer all sorts of attacking solutions to any stubborn defence.
Dortmund Need Their Star Players If They Are to Compete Against the Best
Although Klopp tried his best to put out a strong team against Liverpool on Sunday, in truth there were large parts of the side that had been filled with back-up players.
Still not an excuse for such a defeat, of course, but we should take into account that the German side were missing Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan—the spine of what should be a title-challenging team in this coming Bundesliga season.
What Klopp will undoubtedly find troubling is just how poor his team looked without these stars. He may never have to play without all four in the coming campaign, but even just losing one or two at a time could lead to the sort of defeats we saw at Anfield.
Avoiding Liverpool in the Champions League Would Be Ideal
Although this was nothing more than a vaguely contested friendly, involving few of Dortmund real stars, Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be positively brimming with confidence after putting four past a side that reached the Champions League final just two years ago.
Fans of the Bundesliga side will take the defeat with a pinch of salt, concluding that it should have little effect on the season ahead. Yet many will be fearful of coming up against this Premier League team in the aforementioned continental competition.
Many figured Liverpool would have lost their bite—no pun intended—following Luis Suarez's departure for Barcelona, yet Brendan Rodgers' side look just as ambitious and fearless against any and every side. Dortmund would do well to avoid them this season.