Jurgen Klopp delighted to see Liverpool adapt and grow in maturity to handle increased pressure

The Reds boss admits that his team have now adapted their previously relentless approach when it comes to pressing

Liverpool 2018/19 Premier League profile

It is the style with which he has become almost synonymous as a manager.

Yet Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side occupy only a mid-table position in the current "pressing" stats of the Premier League.

And as he prepares to take his still unbeaten side to Huddersfield on Saturday evening, the Reds boss admitted for the first time that his team have now adapted their previously relentless approach.

Klopp believes it to be a sign of a greater maturity from his team, who sit joint top of the table, below Manchester City and Chelsea only on goal difference.

"It's not been a proper plan to sit back a little bit, but we did it after being 1-0 or 2-0 up in games. We did sit back a bit to not give space away - that's true, it's a question of maturity and that makes absolute sense.

"With the number of games we have, it's not about chasing a game always like crazy, you have to be smart. We try to be that without killing our nature."

The longer ball tactics of opposition teams have also been crucial to the change, with many choosing to "chip balls over the lines" rather than try to play through Liverpool.

"It depends on the style of play of the other team. You can't do it if they don't play. It's not that we don't want to do it anymore. If they play then we should be there," explained Klopp.

Jurgen Klopp says it's important his side are intelligent given the number of games they have 

The effect of the change - aided of course by the arrival of £65m goalkeeper Alisson Becker and the continuing impact of Virgil van Dijk - means Liverpool can secure a new club record at Huddersfield.

A clean sheet would leave them with just three league goals conceded in the opening nine league games, something not achieved by even the great title-winning teams of the past.

Few would back against them given David Wagner's team have not scored a league goal at home this season though for some the extra solidity from Liverpool has come at the expense of some of the joyful fluidity displayed by his attacking players last season.

"It's always like this," said Klopp. "It's a normal period of adaptation. You need to get used to things - closing this gap, this space. You put the focus a bit more on something and immediately you lose a bit of the fluency in something else.

"But we have created enough chances, it's just that we didn't score. It's not that we've had no chances, it's just that we didn't use them like we used them in the best period of last season.

"I am completely fine with that. We have already had good results and scored goals but it's obvious we can improve.

"But we need to keep the stability - no doubt about that. What we've done defensively so far is credit to the whole team."

Klopp endured a frustrating international break with Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk all returning to Melwood early nursing injuries.

Naby Keita is ruled out of their match against Huddersfield this weekend

Keita's hamstring appears to have ruled him out of the trip to the John Smith's while Salah and van Dijk have returned to training and are set to start.

Klopp is unsure if a brace will allow Mane to play with the broken thumb suffered in training with Senegal and operated on when he returned to Merseyside.

"At the moment I have no clue what he can do with the brace on. We will see what he wants to do. It's all about the player. If he thinks he can play then I need to make a decision about how it looks."

Adam Lallana is also available again and may provide an improved link between midfield and attack in the weeks to come.

"Yes he can and can play different positions but they all have their qualities and different qualities. (But) it is never one player.

"If now Phil Coutinho would be in he would maybe shoot more often and create from time to time on his best day for sure. Gini Wijnaldum made big steps and Milly last year created the most goals in the Champions League.

"We need to have that from different positions and it is not forbidden that they score from their position as well.

"So we are growing as a team in a specific way and hopefully we can use that. It is not like we need another player. Adam on a good day he can play five positions and would help the team."

While Klopp will hope to ruin best friend Wagner's 47th birthday weekend he will be wary of Liverpool's unwanted away record against teams in the bottom three, winning none of the last six games.

"I wouldn’t have known about that if you hadn’t told me! I remember the West Brom game last year which was a game which you win on nine of 10 occasions. That day we didn’t.

"Swansea were good - they didn’t play like a bottom team that night. They were in a good moment."

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