Football

Klopp: We will strike back

Liverpool boss says it will be different at Anfield after seeing his team lose first leg of cup semi-final

Juergen Klopp has vowed to take revenge on Southampton in the return leg of the League Cup semi-finals, after seeing his side lose 1-0 to the Saints in the first leg yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The German appeared at a loss to explain the feeble performance, but sounded markedly more confident on what to expect from his team at Anfield on Jan 26.

He said: "We will strike back, we will be a different team, different side - everything will be different at Anfield.

"So, for us, it's still possible to go to Wembley and that's the target. That's the only comfort to take from tonight.

"Losing 1-0 is the third-best result you can get. I don't like it too much, but it's still possible."

In fact, Liverpool could consider themselves lucky to still be in the tie at all.

Southampton, aiming to reach their first League Cup final since 1979, created a host of clear-cut chances at the St Mary's, but were let down by poor finishing.

Their only breakthrough came via Nathan Redmond in the 20th minute.

It’s not the ideal result, but we’re still confident we can turn it around. With our fans, we will make it as difficult as we can for them... It’s going to be really tough for them.Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius

On the other occasions they found the target, they also found goalkeeper Loris Karius, who had not played against Premier League opposition since their 2-2 draw against West Ham last month, impossible to beat.

"I wish I could have kept the other one out as well when they scored," Karius said.

"I tried to be there when the team needed me but, all in all, we're really disappointed.

"We came here to win, but now the result makes life a little more difficult. We're still confident we can turn it around."

Klopp, befuddled by his team's meek response after conceding the opening goal, said: "I've tried (to explain the performance) in three or four interviews but I cannot.

"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 any (at all)."

PAPER MYSTERY

Klopp also admitted he might have bamboozled his players by jotting down a change of tactics on a scrap of paper during the game.

Striker Daniel Sturridge appeared nonplussed when passed the details on the note in the second half, with other Liverpool players also bemused by the former Borussia Dortmund coach's switch.

Klopp revealed he had altered Liverpool's tactics to 3-5-2 and failed to get the message across to his players quickly enough.

"It was just a new system, however you want to call it, 3-5-2," he said.

"Two wingers, two strikers, that's all. No more information, but it was enough.

"We were a little bit too late when we gave him the paper, when the game was already going on. That was our mistake.

"Seven or eight could see it, but Roberto (Firmino) needed a bit longer. So things like this happen."

Klopp, though, added that he wasn't the only manager to leave the stadium disappointed.

He said: "You have two disappointed managers.

"One, because he lost and the performance wasn't good, and the other because he won only 1-0 and has to go to Anfield afterwards."

Following this defeat, Liverpool have not won any of their last three matches in all competitions.

And Klopp has demanded an immediate improvement, especially since they are taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the English Premier League this Sunday.

"We have to show a reaction against Southampton, but it would be cool to show a reaction at the weekend because we'll probably need a better performance at Old Trafford." - WIRE SERVICES

Southampton rue missed chances

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp certainly wasn't exaggerating when he said that the scoreline "should have been 2-0, 3-0" to Southampton.

At the St Mary's yesterday morning (Singapore time), the Saints threatened to pulverise Liverpool's League Cup hopes with a superb display, but could win only 1-0 in the end.

It left the tie very much alive, with the second leg of the semi-final to be played at Anfield on Jan 26.

Match-winner Nathan Redmond, 22, was left kicking himself for not killing off the Reds.

After scoring in the 20th minute, he missed a superb opportunity late in the first period, and also struck the bar in the closing stages of the game.

Said Redmond, who ended a 15-game scoring drought yesterday: "I should have had four goals today. At least we can take a lead to Anfield."

Saints manager Claude Puel also expressed his dismay at his side's finishing, and he is keeping his fingers crossed that they will not have to pay the price later on.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a great performance against this team, but we are a little disappointed with the result considering the chances we had.

"In the end, we were unlucky and unhappy with the result because we know away at Liverpool will be very difficult, but it was a good performance from my team."

This was Southampton's first win in five matches, after a run of three losses and a draw.

In a match where there was no lack of solid performers from the home team, 25-year-old defender Virgil van Dijk shone brightest, keeping a tight leash on the much-vaunted Reds attack.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp singled the Saints captain out for praise for his sterling display at the back.

He told Sky Sports: "He's immense, I say it every time I watch him. The Dutchman gets better and better.

"It was like watching a man play against a little boy in Daniel Sturridge; he bullied him all game.

"He never gave him a sniff. He's got the after-burners, he's so comfortable on the ball.

"Whoever decides to buy him, he is a fantastic player.

"There's not a better centre-back in the Premier League." - WIRE SERVICES

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