herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

Mignolet: We only play one way and that is forward

Klopp and Mignolet
Klopp and Mignolet

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists Liverpool know only one way to play and will not compromise their attacking football to lessen the defensive risks.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has drilled into his side the importance of a high-tempo, aggressive style which commits players forward in significant numbers in an attempt to overload opponents.

It worked brilliantly for the first half of last season when they blew away most teams on their way to topping the Premier League table in early November but they ran out of steam at the turn of the year as teams worked out a game plan to frustrate them.

Already this campaign they have conceded four times in two matches, including late goals in both which could prove costly.

An equaliser at Watford robbed them of three points and a consolation for Hoffenheim gave the Bundesliga side hope of overturning a 2-1 deficit in next week's Champions League play-off second leg at Anfield.

Liverpool were stung by Mark Uth's 87th-minute strike in the Rhein-Neckar-Arena when they should have been looking to close out a victory with a clean sheet but Mignolet, the man who is left most exposed by the team's approach, accepts that is the way it has to be.

Forward

"We can only play one way and that is forward," he said.

"We scored two goals away from home and if we score one at Anfield it will be very difficult for them.

"We knew that we can always score. We have so much style up front. We have the qualities and our natural game will be attacking, we know we have to fill that in with a really defensive spirit.

"You cannot change a natural footballing side that goes forward but we know we have to mix that in with a good defensive, aggressive spirit to make sure they don't score the goals.

"But we know we have so much talent in the squad that we have to use it."

Liverpool academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold is hoping to live up to Steven Gerrard's expectations after scoring a brilliant maiden goal on his European debut.

In April the Reds' former captain, speaking after officially taking charge of the club's under-18 side, sang the praises of the teenager.

"Trent's going to be a beauty," was Gerrard's assessment of his fellow Liverpudlian.

Alexander-Arnold announced himself on the European stage with a dipping free-kick over the wall in the 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

On being reminded of Gerrard's comment the 18-year-old said: "It's always good to get compliments from your idol and I am hoping to live up to his words.

"It is always good to have his backing and support."

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