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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Stephen Killen & Richard Garnett

Graeme Souness responds to Jurgen Klopp pitch claims after Liverpool draw

A dry pitch is no excuse for a sub-par Liverpool performance according to Graeme Souness, after the Reds started their Premier League season with a draw against Fulham.

Having overcome Manchester City in the Community Shield a week earlier, Jurgen Klopp's side arrived in West London for proper business, expecting a win. But instead they found a hard-working Fulham side that limited the FA Cup and League Cup holders' opportunities and were ultimately good value for a point.

After the match, Klopp tried to explain his team's performance. Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "The best thing about the game is the result. A really bad game. How can that happen? The attitude was not right in the beginning. We tried to react after 15 minutes. The pitch was dry, stuff like this. Really difficult.”

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But former Liverpool captain Souness, insists the condition of the Craven Cottage playing surface does not explain his former side's approach to the game.

Speaking in his new role as a Monday morning pundit on Jim White's TalkSPORT breakfast show, Souness said: " I think it’s the same pitch for both teams. I think when you’re a proper player and team you want a fast pitch. If you’re looking to defend you want a slow pitch.

"I looked at the first half and for the first 15 minutes, the writing was on the wall for Liverpool. You have to say Fulham were fabulous, really aggressive, Liverpool didn’t get a second on the ball but if you’re a big team you have to expect that. You don’t go out to play for Liverpool knowing there’s going to be a game you’re going to win, everyone wants to take you on, be aggressive to you, it’s a cup final - get used to it."

The Reds twice came from behind thanks to goals from debutant Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, to rescue a point, before captain Jordan Henderson rattled the Fulham crossbar late on. But if the result was a surprise to most people, Souness claimed that it showed that pre-season affects individual players differently.

He added: "I f you go back two and a bit weeks, this is the point I want to make about pre-season, people arrive at different stages. Going back a couple of weeks, United tonked Liverpool and everyone’s thinking Man United are at it. Then Liverpool beat Man City in the Charity Shield then a week later they don’t turn up at Fulham so that gives you an insight into how pre-season affects different players."


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