Football

Give Fab Four more time: Klopp

Coutinho, Mane, Salah and Firmino play together for first time, but Liverpool manage only 1-1 draw

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp has urged fans not to judge his fabulous front four after just their first outing together.

Despite fielding Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in his line-up for the first time, the Reds managed only a 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow.

Fernando's free-kick for the hosts was cancelled out by a brilliantly constructed Coutinho equaliser at Moscow's Otkrytiye Arena, as the Reds missed a deluge of chances.

Said Klopp: "It's good when you have all these players around, but it's not lining up the players and hoping something will happen - they all need rhythm and need to be in good shape and all that stuff.

"It was a very intense game. For me, it's not about the names, it's really about how we can perform.

"In a lot of moments we performed as good as possible, in a lot of moments not. We have to keep on working."

Asked why Liverpool were unable to score a second goal, Klopp replied: "Because of a little bit being unlucky, good saves from both goalkeepers and wrong decisions in the decisive moment."

Spartak goalkeeper Artem Rebrov was taken off midway through the second half due to an injury, with Aleksandr Selikhov taking his place.

Several Spartak players went down with cramps during the second half, but coach Massimo Carrera said that was more a reflection on the effort they had put in than their physical condition.

"Those who haven't played football don't understand it," said the Italian. "Against skilful players like Liverpool's, we had to run a lot. That's why we got some cramps."

Carrera previously worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and he said the Chelsea manager had given him tips on approaching this match.

"We spoke only a couple of minutes and it was mostly things I have already observed," said Carrera.

"But those pieces (of information) helped me to get this draw against Liverpool."

Despite a second successive draw, Klopp believes Liverpool are still on track to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Liverpool trail leaders Sevilla by two points, but with four games left, Klopp remains optimistic.

"Of course, I saw enough (to suggest Liverpool can qualify)," Klopp said.

While the focus was on Liverpool's "Fab Four", Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel believes Klopp should have fielded James Milner, who was an unused substitute.

Schmeichel told Sky Sports: "They need someone like (Milner) who can lead and put pressure on the ball. He binds the two lines together.

"Every time he's put James Milner on, they've looked a different team. He changes games - and he's not playing him."

- WIRE SERVICES

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