Jurgen Klopp: 'Average' Liverpool Need to Improve Against Red Star Belgrade

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2018

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp takes a Liverpool team training session at Melwood in Liverpool, north west England on October 23, 2018, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League group C football match against Red Star Belgrade. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he and his team felt they were only "average" on Saturday as they beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 and he is hoping to see a significant improvement from them when they host Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday. 

The Reds ground out an away win at the John Smith's Stadium to keep level with Manchester City in the Premier League title race, but they will switch their attention to the UEFA Champions League for Red Star's visit.

Liverpool are yet to sweep teams aside in the convincing manner they did last season and, while Klopp conceded that it's difficult to maintain that level, he is hoping to see more from his side.

Per MailOnline's Mike Keegan, he said:

"We had this discussion last year. We don't concede a lot of shots on target and that's defending. It's like last year. I never had the feeling it's for granted. It's hard work. 

"We have to really work for it and in the last game I was not the only one who felt a bit average.

"It was influenced in my case by the three big counter-attacks we had and did not finish off one. If we finish one it's done. We didn't. They had a half chance. I didn't feel good after the game.

"Make yourself ready for all the challenges you have, face them, solve them and win a football game."

The German added that Liverpool "have played some really good stuff" at times this season but said that results are the priority and his team aren't necessarily trying to recapture last year's magic.

"We have to perform, we have to fight, do the right things in the right moment," he said. "It's not about showing that we can do similar to last season."

As FootballJOE's Melissa Reddy noted, Liverpool have been producing the results this season even if the performances have not always convinced:

Melissa Reddy @MelissaReddy_

Far from fluid, or pretty, or particularly good from #LFC. They were lucky - an element even the best teams need at times. Result means the Reds match their best-ever points haul after nine PL games (23) as well as record their greatest defensive start (just three conceded)

Football writer Leanne Prescott believes they'll struggle to continue picking up wins if things don't click on the pitch, though:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

All well and good taking three points from a rubbish performance, but a better side today and Liverpool would’ve been ripped apart. Huge improvement needed.

It's imperative Liverpool don't drop points on Wednesday if they want to maximise their chances of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League, and they should be able to win even if they're not at their best.

A home clash with Red Star also gives them an opportunity to rack up some goals and potentially rediscover the cohesion and incisiveness that characterises their attacking play when they're at their best.

The ability to grind out wins despite sub-par performances is a useful trait for a club with Liverpool's ambitions, but unless they're able to improve them soon they might struggle to continue picking up the results they need.