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Jurgen Klopp says clean sheets win championships

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has highlighted the importance of keeping clean sheets as his side search for a fourth straight shut-out in their clash with Leicester on Saturday lunchtime.

The Reds have started the season with three successive Premier League victories, scoring seven goals in the process and recording a clean sheet in each; a record which has propelled them to the summit of the early top-flight standings.

Under Klopp, Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga title in 2010/11 and 2011/12, shipping 22 and 25 goals respectively.The German believes the lower the number of goals conceded – as opposed to the higher the number of goals scored – is the pivotal factor in a team succeeding.

“It’s always like this – I think that’s one of the oldest laws in football,” Klopp exclusively told Sky Sports.

“Scoring goals wins you games but not conceding wins you championships. That’s really pretty old but still very true.

“You can be the best team in the world offensively, but if you constantly conceded two or three goals [per game] then it’s just not possible to win all of these games.”

Their perfect start to the campaign means that in 32 Premier League games dating back to October 2017, Liverpool have conceded just 22 goals and kept an impressive 17 clean sheets. The stats are impressive, but the German admits he takes them with a pinch of salt as his team continue to grow.

He continued: “I’m not really happy [with the figures] but it’s interesting, that’s what we always thought. I’m not this kind of guy who counts clean sheets or counts goals we concede because I know about our problems or solutions without counting goals.

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“I’m not proud, I’m not surprised, it’s actually what we thought it was but it’s a good number and hopefully it will continue like that.

“Because of the football we play people could think I’m first and foremost interested in offensive movements. That’s not true actually, I’m desperate to have good organisation and that’s good when you see them and the boys feel it and when we have more and more when the confidence grows.

“We had really difficult moments against Crystal Palace, it was difficult but we could still win the game. Against Brighton it was difficult, especially in the last few minutes, but we could win the game.

“That gives us a lot of very important information but we have to improve, controlling the game with the ball. I know that but a lot of people think controlling the game without the ball – to an extent that’s important – but we are a team and we need to control the game better with the ball.

“You never can avoid conceding goals but you can avoid conceding the easy goals so you have to make life for your opponent as uncomfortable as possible. Always when they are on the ball they need to be at the top to find a solution against us. That’s the plan, it was always the plan.”

Despite their blistering start and the performances of figures such as Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, Klopp appears keen to remain cautious when addressing his side’s chances to win a first title since 1990, instead alluding to the room for growth and potential problems the imminent international break may raise.

“It is too early in the season to talk about that. In life and football you have to go through difficult situations to really know what your strengths are. That’s a big part but it will not happen overnight and it didn’t start last week and it will not be finished next week.

“It’s a process and we are in the middle of it, we feel good in this situation at the moment. We know about all the difficulties that will come up. We have September with an awful lot of big games and that’s cool, that’s why we do it. But we know we need to be ready for that as well.

“After the international break, they all come back and two days later you play Tottenham, Tottenham have the same problem so it has no advantage for anybody but there will be big challenges for us ahead and hopefully we are ready for that.”

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