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Liverpool must defend corners better: Henderson

Henderson reacts during Liverpool's defeat against Manchester United. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Henderson reacts during Liverpool's defeat against Manchester United. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Henderson reacts during Liverpool’s defeat against Manchester United. Photograph: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Jordan Henderson has said that while Liverpool work hard on set pieces in training they must improve their concentration in matches, where opponents constantly target what is has become a glaring weakness in Jürgen Klopp’s side.

In last weekend’s game against Manchester United, Wayne Rooney was able to capitalise on typically shambolic defending from a corner – the goal was the seventh Liverpool have conceded from corners this season, more than any other Premier League team.

United won by a goal, scored from one shot on target – that too after Marouane Fellaini had outjumped four Red defenders, leaving Klopp demanding defensive improvement at set pieces for the third game in a row. The Merseyside club had succumbed to the same problem, conceding against Exeter City in the FA Cup and letting in Arsenal’s second goal in the 3-3 draw at Anfield.

Henderson believes concentration is key to sorting out set-piece issues. The Liverpool captain was one of the four players beaten in the air by Fellaini for Rooney’s goal.

He said: “I am sure teams will look at that. We have to make sure we are fully concentrated and defending set pieces well and stop conceding. We put a lot of work into it on the training field.

“It is disappointing. We conceded a sloppy goal at a set piece against Arsenal and against United it was a good header. We need to react to second balls and be first to them. Maybe we need to be more concentrated, I don’t know, but we need to keep going on to the next game and play well.”

Liverpool have won only two of their past eight league matches and are eight points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after Sunday’s defeat.

Henderson believes Champions League qualification is still not beyond his team this season. However, he concedes they “are not in the mix”, but says they “have to keep going right until the very end”.

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