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‘Liverpool aren’t getting bored with winning’ – Klopp’s side looking to improve, says McAteer

14:26 EAT 28/11/2019
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Champions League 2018-19
The former Reds star admits there are areas for the Premier League leaders to work on, despite plenty of positive progress being made at Anfield

Liverpool are “not getting bored with winning”, says Jason McAteer, with there still room for improvement from the Premier League title hopefuls as they seek to plug defensive leaks.

The Reds have enjoyed a memorable 12 months in 2019, with a Champions League triumph seeing them end a long wait for major silverware.

A UEFA Super Cup success has been enjoyed since conquering Europe, while global supremacy can be secured at the FIFA Club World Cup before the end of the year.

There is then the small matter of continuing to chase down a domestic crown which could bring a 30-year barren sequence on Merseyside to a close.

With all of that taken into account, former Reds star McAteer says there is no chance of Jurgen Klopp’s side getting complacent or losing their focus.

He told Brighton’s official website ahead of a meeting with the Seagulls on Saturday: “We’re not getting bored with winning, but because there are no major flaws, we are asking ‘What could be better? Where can they improve?’

“And this season we have ridden our luck a number of times and taken the clock to the 94th minute to get results – Aston Villa springs to mind, Sheffield United as well.

“We’ve had to come from behind to win. As good as that is for what it says about your mental strength, it can be a concern. You feel that that game is coming where you don’t actually get over the line and we drop two points or even three.”

While Liverpool have been sweeping aside all before them, a defence which once looked watertight has gone 11 games without a clean sheet.

McAteer added on the back of a 1-1 Champions League draw with Napoli on Wednesday: “Clean sheets have been a problem. The foundation of a good performance is a clean sheet and we were fantastic at that last season, limiting teams’ opportunities.

“Partly this time round we have been conceding sloppy goals and making silly mistakes, which is down to lack of concentration at times. But also the Premier League these days is full of good managers and coaches who analyse everything and identify any area of weakness.

“In Liverpool’s case it may be a tendency to go for the jugular and to want to mix it with teams instead of sitting back. Some teams have had joy because of that.”

The Reds may have struggled for shutouts of late, but they remain an entertaining outfit under the guidance of Klopp and are considered to have taken giant strides forward over recent years.

“Until the new owners and Jurgen arrived, we wondered about the direction the club was going in. There was instability, different managers, players coming and going, but it has moved forward in a new direction,” said McAteer.

“There are some great people running the club at the moment. They have respected the history and the legacy.

“It would have been easier for them to have bought a plot of land and built a new super stadium but they realised that the history is there in front of the Kop, where titles have been won. It was sad to see the old main stand go but I have played on the pitch again in legends games and it is still Anfield even though that new stand is so massive. That is a job well done because you can lose an identity so easily. 

“The last three-and-a-half years under Jurgen have been brilliant – the style of football, the recruitment and the ambition. But not only are we pushing consistently for titles, some of the games we have seen will stay with us forever.”