Football

Juergen Klopp: We made steps in the right direction despite defeat

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his side were moving in the right direction, even as their slump continued with a 3-2 FA Cup defeat by arch-rivals Manchester United yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The English Premier League champions, who have won only once in their last seven games, looked uncomfortable at the back, as United counter-attacked to devastating effect and scored the winner through a superb free-kick by Bruno Fernandes in the 78th minute.

"It's not what we wanted, so it's frustrating," Klopp said. "We weren't on our absolute top, but we made a lot of steps in the right direction," he said.

"You could see the boys really wanted to change the fortune, they wanted to score goals and that's good. We did that, we scored twice... but in the end, they scored three, we scored two and they are through."

Salah drew first blood for the visitors in the 18th minute, but Mason Greenwood levelled just eight minutes later.

Marcus Rashford then gave the hosts the lead three minutes into the second half before Salah got his double in the 58th minute.

Rashford's goal showed why Klopp has been reluctant to rely on his young centre-backs. In the absence of injured seniors Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, 19-year-old Rhys Williams partnered Fabinho in central defence at Old Trafford.

Williams failed to cut out Greenwood's through-ball for Rashford, who composed himself before slotting past the advancing Alisson.

Looking ahead, Klopp said they would need to work on the training ground to prepare for Friday morning's trip to Tottenham Hotspur, who also rely heavily on counter-attacking.

The Reds would slip out of the EPL's top four if they were to lose again, but Klopp insisted that they are not running low on confidence.

"Tonight, I didn't see any confidence problems. We are on it, believe me, and we will sort that," he said. - REUTERS

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