Jürgen Klopp blames Liverpool defence as Paul Clement states how important Fernando Llorente is to Swansea

Clement wants to keep Llorente despite interest from Chelsea, while a furious Klopp made it perfectly clear who was to blame for Liverpool's shock 3-2 defeat by Swansea

Simon Hughes
Saturday 21 January 2017 16:41
Jurgen Klopp was furious with Liverpool's 3-2 defeat by Swansea and blamed his defence
Jurgen Klopp was furious with Liverpool's 3-2 defeat by Swansea and blamed his defence

Paul Clement reiterated his commitment to keeping Fernando Llorente at Swansea City after the Basque forward’s two goals helped inflict Liverpool’s first defeat at Anfield in a year.

Llorente, who was signed from Sevilla last summer, is a transfer target for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Conte had previously recruited him from Athletic Bilbao when he was Juventus manager.

Though Gylfi Sigurdsson secured Swansea’s victory, in Clement’s assessment, Llorente’s earlier goals had injected his teammates with the necessary confidence to go and win the game even after Roberto Firmino had brought the score level.

“I think his performance was very good. If you get the right service in to him, he’s a goalscorer. That comes from set pieces and crosses,” Clement said.

“Am I afraid to lose him? I want to keep him. I’d say that’s a priority over the next few weeks.”

Clement spoke about changing the mindset of a Swansea team that had been bottom of the Premier League at the start of the day having conceded the most goals in the division.

“We’re not going to look at the table, how many wins or points we need. It’s about delivering performances. Against Arsenal (when Swansea lost 4-0 at home), that performance was 35 minutes long. Here, it was a 90-minute performance and took our chances when they came along. The next objective is to put in a performance against Southampton, nothing else.

“It’s a clean slate when a new coach comes in. I’ve told the players we’re starting afresh. I’ve tried to keep it simple and get the basics right. Liverpool have got a lot of technical players who are good in tight spaces. It was a plan to let Liverpool go wide and encourage them to put crosses in the box. In the air, we had the defence to deal with that threat.

“To concede two so quickly was not a good moment. The crowd lifted and that gave Liverpool a lot more energy.

“This kind of performance can give everyone a big lift. The team has been down at times and criticised for not being able to make a response. Going two ahead and having been penned back, this shows the character is there.”

Paul Clement wants Swansea to do everything they can to keep Fernando Llorente

Jürgen Klopp was dismayed at the passive response of his players to long balls that led to Swansea’s winner. “It could not have been any worse,” he admitted, developing on his criticism of his defence. “I don't know how Llorente could be completely alone to score the first in the six-yard box,” he added. “The defending around all three goals wasn't good enough, 100 per cent. Defending [is] a very important part of the game.”

Klopp had chosen to use Ragnar Klavan at centre back, even with Joel Matip available to play having been given clearance by Fifa following the uncertainty of the last few weeks after his decision not to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations. Klavan was at fault for Sigurdsson’s 75th minute intervention.

“Joel had just two training sessions to prepare properly for the game,” Klopp reasoned. “So the preparation was not ideal.”

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