This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Liverpool may boast one of the best home records of any team in Europe, but their away form in the Champions League is one area which still requires improvement from Jurgen Klopp.
Their pedigree at home has been maintained in Europe, too, with their last home defeat in the competition coming in October 2014, but on the road they haven’t been able to get things quite right.
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It is a strange phenomenon given they are European champions, but in their last seven away fixtures in the Champions League, excluding the final, they have lost five, including a visit to Red Star Belgrade, who were seeded fourth in last year’s group stage.
As a result, it is fair to say that it is a mark against Klopp, despite his success. Of the five away defeats Liverpool had the majority of possession against Red Star, PSG, Napoli and even Barcelona, but there has been a tendency to play safe, with players often holding back from going forward, as shown in their shot on target return.
That was the case in the final against Tottenham, with Liverpool looking to hold onto their lead for large spells.
Their three shots on target in that match is a familiar return from their away displays. Of their last seven away games the Reds have had over five shots on target in just two matches, both of which they won against Porto and Bayern Munich, and such a cautious approach can only be down to the manager.
It is a strange method for the German to use. Liverpool are often gung-ho in their approach but it is a method which works well for them, as evidenced by their average of 18 shots per game from their five Premier League matches this term, all of which they have won.
Their next away game at Genk should be more comfortable but the following European trip, to Red Bull Salzburg, will be a good chance for Klopp to test his team, as they boast a great home record. By the time Liverpool visit them in December it may be more than three years since they were defeated on their own turf, last losing at the Red Bull Arena in November 2016 as things stand.
It will not be a comfortable atmosphere for Klopp’s side, therefore, and it will likely be a test of their mentality as much as their ability, and it will be interesting to see if he can begin to turn the tide away from Anfield.