Jurgen Klopp admitted that Liverpool found it “a bit hard to defend” at times in their win over Brighton, while revealing why he took off Neco Williams.

Liverpool made a quick start at the Amex Stadium, going 2-0 up inside the first 10 minutes. However, it took them until the 76th minute to get a third – after Brighton had pulled one back near the end of the first half.

In the end, the Reds managed to get their first away win as Premier League champions – but Klopp admits it wasn’t all plain sailing.

He told Sky Sports: “We started really well. We had to adapt a little bit as we knew what they wanted to do, but it was a little bit hard to defend.

“We left one or two players in a position where if we won the ball we had players in the counter-attack position.

“We got the first two goals with super balls but we could have scored more. I said to the boys at half-time they could have been 2-2 too. It was a nice game to watch!

“We don’t have an influence on what the other team do. We just have to react.

“They left two offensive players between the line so when they won the ball it was difficult to protect. When you lose the ball in the wrong moment it was difficult to defend.

“So they deserved the goal but we scored the third goal then could have scored more with some really good chances.”

KLOPP EXPLAINS WILLIAMS WITHDRAWAL

Part of the way Liverpool reacted to Brighton’s growing pressure was to take off Neco Williams at half-time.

The academy graduate was making his first Premier League start at left-back, but picked up a yellow card and did not re-emerge for the second half.

However, Klopp insisted it was only to ensure Williams didn’t fall into the bad habits of holding back on the pitch.

“I know in football, everybody thinks it’s not good if you take a player off after 45 minutes,” he explained.

“He had a yellow card and we didn’t protect him well enough on the left.

“It was his first professional start so I cannot tell him not to tackle. I liked a lot of his stuff, he will learn so there is absolutely no problem. I liked a lot how he played.”

Another player to be withdrawn was captain Jordan Henderson, who limped off after 80 minutes. And Klopp is cautious over the extent of the midfielder’s injury.

“I don’t know exactly but it was something with the knee I think. We know it’s not nothing.”

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