Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has issued an apology to the club's fans for their goal-shy start to the Premier League campaign, stating he "was not satisfied" following Saturday's 2-0 loss at West Ham United.
The Reds have scored 22 goals in 20 games, and David Maddock of the Mirror chronicled this as their least prolific start to a campaign since the 1970-71 and 1923-24 seasons. In response to that record, Klopp said:
First of all, sorry. The mother of all goals is the opportunities, the chances, so we have to have them and then you have to use them. We need to be more concentrated, be more greedy, be more disciplined, be more everything. It’s not dreamland – we have to work. We know the numbers and it’s not good but we can do better.
We aren’t in situations enough but we are often in situations where we can score goals and we don’t use them. You need confidence, you need to run. We made goals in several games, six against Southampton, so we know where the goal is, that is the good thing. But we have things to work on.
Benteke was brought to the club by Klopp's predecessor Brendan Rodgers, and the Belgian understands the weight of pressure on his shoulders to improve the side's scoring record, per the Premier League Twitter account:
Premier League @premierleague
Benteke: "I came to Liverpool to try to score goals. As a striker, when you start you have to score." #SUNLIV https://t.co/jLaT7e12s92015-12-30 22:14:44
Saturday's defeat was the fourth Premier League loss the Merseysiders have suffered under Klopp and was also the fourth domestic game in which they've failed to score since he took over in October.
The former Borussia Dortmund chief went on to cite the defence as an issue for his team, too, adding that his patience has limits following Liverpool's third away defeat in four league trips outside Anfield:
Yes, of course, always. But I build it up again after this so it’s not that I lose it forever because that’s not allowed. I always say the truth to the players. If I’m satisfied in what I’m seeing then I’m not interested in the result. You have to have two views on the game so even when we have won I will say the truth.
After West Ham I really was not satisfied because it was not enough so we had a talk about this and now we have to take the next chance, which is against Stoke. We were not really concentrated and not 100% in our will in the situations around the two goals and that is not okay. We spoke about this and the next station is Stoke; difficult but possible.
The Reds can look toward Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg clash against Stoke City as an opportunity to improve their fortunes after what's been a disappointing run of missed chances.
The goal charts would surely make for more pleasant reading had Daniel Sturridge been fit to feature more prominently this season, but Klopp confirmed the fragile forward is being treated with care, per the Press Association:
Creating chances doesn't appear to be a problem for the Reds as Squawka indicated they've crafted 259 scoring opportunities this season, second only to top scorers Manchester City. Finishing is a concern, though, as they've recorded just 18 assists from those opportunities, equal with West Ham and Southampton.
According to Sky Sports, departed Kop legend Steven Gerrard is still the club's joint-second-highest scorer for 2015 despite leaving Anfield over the summer, showing just how desperate the search is for a greater goal threat:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Philippe Coutinho is Liverpool's top scorer in all competitions in 2015 with 11 goals (49 apps). Steven Gerrard (8) is still in joint 2nd2015-12-30 19:39:14
Maddock added that while Sturridge remains a doubt, Klopp's ranks will be boosted by the return to fitness of vice-captain James Milner this week.
It's also reported by Maddock that the Reds could announce the £5.1 million signing of Serbian youngster Marko Grujic at Tuesday's game against the Potters.