Jurgen Klopp laments 'too many mistakes' in Liverpool's pre-season defeat to Salzburg

Reds defeated 1-0 by Austrian champions in pre-season friendly

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Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool made "too many mistakes" in their 1-0 pre-season defeat to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria on Wednesday evening.

With several first team players including Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, an experimental Liverpool side found themselves 1-0 down in the 31st minute through Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko's goal.

New striker Darwin Nunez had an earlier chance to put Liverpool ahead but saw his effort graze the crossbar, while Fernando missed an open-goal sitter for Salzburg. However, the Brazilian midfielder soon made up for his error, playing a first-time through ball for Sesko to score his well-worked opener.

Klopp introduced an entirely new team for the second half, comprising many of his regular XI, but Liverpool couldn't find a way through the Salzburg defence. Luis Diaz had a good chance to equalise but his poked effort was saved by goalkeeper Nico Mantl.

Diaz was again involved when he set up Roberto Firmino but the Brazilian's shot was comfortably blocked by Mantl and Albert Vallci poked away the rebound ahead of Salah. Diaz did have the ball in the back of the net but the goal was chalked off after the Colombian was marginally offside.

Alexander-Arnold then late fly from distance but his well struck shot was acrobatically turned away by Mantl, before Firmino's attempted back-heel from a corner was also saved.

Liverpool had a penalty shout when Diaz went down under a challenge from Youba Diarra but replays showed the midfielder got a toe to the ball.

"First half we made too many mistakes, which they could use," Liverpool manager Klopp said. "We had good moments as well, we could have scored four or five goals at least. Didn’t do that because we were in the first half we were too open, we were too wide, we were not connected enough in moments when you lose the ball.

"Then everything is open, it’s like a motorway, and with their speed that’s how they had their chances, especially when you lose simple passes where nobody can react. They scored their goal and the last half an hour was like a thunderstorm, we were really like a truck, but we didn’t finish the situations off. Obviously we should involve that in our game as well and then it will be fine."

Nunez, recruited from Benfica this summer in a deal that could eventually be worth close to €100 million, started the game but was unable to repeat his four-goal heroics from Liverpool's 5-0 win over RB Leipzig last week.

"Darwin was much too often alone," Klopp said. "Everybody dropped, everybody was involved in the build-up but too wide and we could only pass the ball to Darwin in the box.

"He had his moments and nearly scored, but he needs much more support around him. You keep other players busy that they cannot focus on him. So many things. Second half, imagine now Darwin would have been there in the box, that would have helped as well."

Despite the match being a pre-season friendly, the intensity of the game and the atmosphere inside the Red Bull Arena made it feel more like a competitive fixture. Klopp said he was happy to see his players involved in this type of match so close to the start of the new season, although was more uncomfortable with some of Salzburg's challenges.

"For Salzburg it was definitely no friendly. For us not as well," he said. "Salzburg had these kind of harsh challenges, but they do really well. All respect to Salzburg, they do really well. Sometimes I didn’t like the challenges too much but it’s fine, nothing happened there I think."

FA Cup holders Liverpool are next in action against Premier League champions Manchester City in the FA Community Shield at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. The Reds have one more pre-season match scheduled, against Strasbourg at Anfield on Sunday, before opening their Premier League campaign away to Fulham next Saturday, August 6.

Updated: July 28, 2022, 5:39 AM
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