Jurgen Klopp Angered by Accusations of Caution After Liverpool Draw vs. Everton

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 03:  Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on after the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on March 03, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp took issue with accusations he and his Liverpool side were too cautious in their 0-0 draw with Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The draw, Liverpool's fourth in their last six games in the Premier League, meant the Reds remained second in the table, a point behind Manchester City, and the title is no longer in their hands:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

This is the first time since December 7th Liverpool have not finished the day top of the table having played the same number of games as Manchester City. #MOTD2 https://t.co/TwXczXqQ0f

Klopp's substitutions in the Merseyside derby were certainly not attack-minded despite the stalemate, as he put on James Milner and Roberto Firmino for Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi just after the hour mark, and Adam Lallana for Sadio Mane in the 84th minute, leaving Daniel Sturridge, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri unused:

James Nalton @JDNalton

Lallana coming on against Everton, while Keita, Sturridge, and Shaqiri remained on the bench, is the moment you knew Liverpool weren't winning the title.

However, when asked after the match whether he should have "gone for the jugular" and made more attacking substitutions against Everton, the German manager responded with clear irritation, per Simon Evans of Reuters (h/t MailOnline):

"I'm really disappointed about your question. It's football—we don't play Playstation. Do you think we didn't take enough risks today? Was there any draw where we didn't try to win? Bring on an extra attacker and football changes? It is not like that, come on.

"We are offensive enough, football doesn't work like that. There are nine games to go and we don't lose our nerves, not like you, obviously. You cannot start with four or five strikers in a striker way with nothing else to do than to try to score.

"We are an offensive team and that's absolutely OK. We take a risk, no doubt about it, but it is not like that. It's not the moment where we say, 'Come on now, throw everything in that direction.' You cannot play in the Premier League like that. We play next week against Burnley and if we play only offensive, they kill us on the counter-attack, 100 per cent.

"We take all the risks, but you cannot take more than 100 per cent risk. It's not about going nuts."

B/R Football @brfootball

Jurgen Klopp was NOT happy with his tactics being questioned 👀 https://t.co/2yf5Wq2RDE

Klopp faced similar criticism after Liverpool's recent 0-0 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford, during which the Red Devils were forced to make three substitutions in the first half and leave a struggling Marcus Rashford on the pitch.

The Reds still have a huge opportunity to win their first league title since 1990, but their recent form is concerning.

Liverpool won nine league games in a row to finish 2018. They have won just four from nine to kick off 2019.

After Liverpool's 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal on December 29, they held a 10-point lead over City.

That deficit has been wiped out in barely two months, and Klopp's side are now playing catch-up. 

Perhaps most concerning is Liverpool's form away from home. They have won just one of their last six games on the road in all competitions, scoring only four goals.

Mohamed Salah's goalscoring touch also seems to have deserted him. The prolific Egyptian has found the net just once in his last seven appearances:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Mohamed Salah has failed to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since joining Liverpool: ❌ vs. Man Utd ❌ vs. Watford ❌ vs. Everton He had his fair share of chances today... https://t.co/GDq7LveohK

As Klopp said, though, the gap to City is just one point, and there are still nine games to go in the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Upcoming league matches against Burnley at home and Fulham away offer Liverpool a fine chance to return to winning ways before Tottenham Hotspur visit Anfield on March 31.