Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool and Manchester City require time to get used to their new strikers and said his team need to learn to give Darwin Nunez the ball less.
Nunez is set to make his competitive debut for Liverpool in Saturday’s Community Shield where City could give Erling Haaland his bow after his £51 million move from Borussia Dortmund.
Both teams have been accustomed to playing with false nines in recent years whereas their summer signings are more traditional centre-forwards and Klopp feels each will adapt.
He still expects Haaland, who scored in a pre-season friendly for City against Bayern Munich, to be prolific in the meantime but feels his players need to learn that part of Nunez’s value lies in his ability to drag defences deeper and create room for others.
He said: “Erling scored a Manchester City goal, a square ball in the six-yard box and so far it didn’t change a lot, they have same problem we have they are not used to Erling’s natural runs just as we are not used to Darwin’s natural runs yet.
“When Darwin offers a run we give him the ball all the time, which is not helpful because often a guy who stretches the opponent is there to create space between the lines, these kind of things.
“I am pretty sure they will need time for Erling but that doesn’t mean he cannot score already early like how he did it in the first game against Bayern.”
He thinks City have not altered their gameplan much, adding: “Most of the things look like last year: how they set up the press, how flexible they are in their own possession, it is good, very, very good but so far no real change is obvious.”
Liverpool finished second to City last season, despite securing 92 points, but Klopp, who also finished as a runner-up with 97 in 2019, insisted that does not drive him crazy to do so well without winning the title.
“No, that is sport,” he said. “We lost games like this when both teams play an incredible high level and one thing makes the difference; like the Champions League final, for instance – that is one goal. That is part of the deal. That can happen at the end of the season with a points tally. No, it didn’t turn me crazy and neither the players.”