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Liverpool 'not blind' to defensive issues, says Mignolet

Football Soccer - Premier League - Watford vs Liverpool - Watford, Britain - August 12, 2017 Liverpool's Simon Mignolet applauds the fans at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/Files
Football Soccer - Premier League - Watford vs Liverpool - Watford, Britain - August 12, 2017 Liverpool's Simon Mignolet applauds the fans at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/Files

REUTERS - Liverpool are fully aware they have to improve defensively but they must strike a balance between tightening up at the back and playing their natural attacking game, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has said.

The Belgian is part of a defence that has already come under fire for their display in the 3-3 draw at Watford in last Saturday's Premier League opener, when Liverpool conceded a stoppage-time equaliser from a set-piece.

Liverpool's vulnerability was on display again in their 2-1 Champions League qualification first-leg win over Hoffenheim on Tuesday, when they conceded late on to give the German side hope for next week's return leg at Anfield.

"We can only play one way and that is forward. We know that we can always score," Mignolet told British media.

"We took a lot of steps defensively against Hoffenheim. We were solid, set-pieces we defended well too and that is what we have to learn."

While Liverpool's pace and attacking flair got them out of trouble several times last season, Mignolet backed his team mates to offer a sterner all-round defensive effort this campaign without ruining their potency up front.

"We are not blind," he added. "Our natural game will be attacking and we know we have to fill that in with a real defensive spirit. We know that is where we have to improve.

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

Liverpool return to Premier League duty on Saturday when they face Crystal Palace at Anfield.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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