Football

Klopp thanks makeshift defence after 5-1 win

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp paid tribute to his makeshift backline after a 5-1 win at Brighton on Saturday.

Klopp was forced to play midfielders Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum alongside centre back Dejan Lovren in a three-man backline for the first time.

Three other centre backs were unavailable - Joel Matip due to a thigh injury, while Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan were missing through illness.

"We had no idea we were going to have to line up like this until yesterday's meeting and I'm pleased for the boys," Klopp said.

"We had big problems with the line-up and all of them were centre halves. We had to make big decisions but the boys did really well. Our line-up surprised everybody. It's good that we can do things like this."

The 5-1 victory was Liverpool's fifth in six league games.

After Can had put Liverpool ahead with a header, Roberto Firmino scored twice as the Reds raced to a 3-0 lead in the 48th minute.

LAST NIGHT'S RESULT
Bournemouth 1 Southampton 1

A Glenn Murray penalty brought Brighton back into the game, but Philippe Coutinho added Liverpool's fourth with a free-kick and had another effort turned into Brighton's goal by Lewis Dunk.

The Reds' handsome victory typified the attacking strength that has delivered 25 goals in their last eight games in all competitions, a tally that has drawn comparisons with Pep Guardiola's free-scoring Manchester City side.

But Klopp insisted that the Reds' immediate target is to establish themselves in the English Premier League's top four before they start looking towards leaders City.

"In our calmer moments, we played good football," said Klopp. "I don't know if you can compare us to Manchester City, but we are a really good football team and we know that.

"But we need to carry on, that's the most important thing.

"It's important that it's good because we need the points, and we want to stay as close as possible to the teams in front of us.

"We cannot get them immediately because they obviously win a lot of games as well, but we want to be as close as possible to them."

Liverpool turn their attention to a Champions League home clash with Spartak Moscow on Thursday morning (Singapore time), before hosting Everton in a Merseyside Derby on Sunday. - WIRE SERVICES

Football