Jürgen Klopp miffed at lacklustre Liverpool display

German manager saw his side slip to a 1-0 defeat at St Mary’s in their semi-final first leg

Jurgen Klopp looks on from the touchline during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadiu. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp looks on from the touchline during the EFL Cup semi-final first leg match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadiu. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

 

Jürgen Klopp admitted he was at a loss to explain how Liverpool had under- performed so dramatically in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final at Southampton and the only consolation for him was that his team are still alive in the tie.

Southampton had a clutch of excellent chances but they will take only a 1-0 lead to Anfield for the second leg on January 25th, which came courtesy of Nathan Redmond’s 20th-minute goal. Redmond went close on three further occasions while Cédric Soares also chose the wrong option on a two-on-one counterattack.

“I’ve tried [to explain the performance] in three or four interviews but I cannot,” the Liverpool manager, said. “The start was good. If we would have done this for 90 minutes, then it would have been very difficult for Southampton. But after we conceded, the game changed.

“I’m actually not used to a reaction like this from my boys but they have to accept that tonight was not good. We did not have a lot of chances – if we had some [at all]. The performance, of course, doesn’t feel too good. But for the final, I would think it’s still open. You have two disappointed managers after the game. One, because he lost and the performance wasn’t good, and the other because he only won 1-0 and has to go to Anfield afterwards.”

Claude Puel, the Southampton manager, was not about to disagree. “There is a bit of frustration at the end of the game, to [only]be 1-0 up,” he said. “With a little bit more efficiency, we could do a bit better. But I’m also happy to see the level of the team and all of the players.

“It was a great performance against a team that, since the beginning of the season, does not waste many chances. Liverpool had just one chance tonight – at the beginning of the game [through Roberto Firmino]. We had good organisation and we kept the clean sheet.”

Redmond admitted that he might have scored four times. “On another day, they might go in but we’ve got the win and we take it on to the second leg now,” he said. “Probably, the first miss was the most frustrating. I didn’t realise how much time I had. I will learn from those mistakes.”

Klopp offered praise to his goalkeeper, Loris Karius, who saved twice from Redmond and was helped out by his crossbar on the winger’s third and final chance towards the end.

“How did Karius play? Good,” Klopp added. “He saved us. If you lose three or four nil, then it could be much more difficult for the second game. So, yeah, he kept us in the game, that’s how it is. It’s his job. I’m not too surprised, honestly. If a goalkeeper has to make saves like this, something else is wrong in the game and that was our problem tonight.”

It was put to Klopp that he might take comfort from the scoreline being only 1-0.

“That’s the only comfort, actually,” he replied. “But it’s good. It’s the third best result you can get. If you don’t win and you don’t draw, losing 1-0 is the third best result.

“I don’t like it too much but it’s still possible [to reach the final] and this team always shows a reaction. We have to show a reaction against Southampton but it will be cool if we could also show a reaction at the weekend against Manchester United, because we probably need a better performance to get something at Old Trafford.”

Klopp promised that things would be different when the two sides meet in the second leg at Anfield. “We will strike back,” he said. “We will be a different team. It will be different. Everything will be different at Anfield. So, for us, it’s still possible to go to Wembley and that’s the target.”

(Guardian service)

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