Klopp urges Liver­pool to get back on track

Daily Dispatch - - Sport -

JUR­GEN Klopp has urged Liver­pool to make amends for their FA Cup flop by de­liv­er­ing a dom­i­nant dis­play in to­day’s League Cup semi­fi­nal first leg against Southamp­ton.

Klopp fielded Liver­pool’s youngest ever line-up against Ply­mouth in the FA Cup third round on Sun­day and the raw rook­ies failed to im­press as the fourth-tier min­nows eas­ily held on for a goal­less draw at An­field.

Liver­pool can still ad­vance in the FA Cup when they face Ply­mouth in a re­play, but that is on the back burner for now as the Reds fo­cus on their other road to Wem­b­ley.

Af­ter los­ing to Manch­ester City on penal­ties in last sea­son’s League Cup fi­nal, Liver­pool are one step away from a re­turn to Wem­b­ley and Klopp will send out a stronger lineup at St Mary’s as he looks to get his side back on track.

Aware of ac­cu­sa­tions that he and his play­ers were guilty of com­pla­cency against Ply­mouth, the Liver­pool man­ager said: “The ques­tion I asked this morn­ing in the dress­ing room was, ‘Could we have done bet­ter?’ 100% yes with this line-up.

“I don’t ex­pect per­fec­tion but I have high ex­pec­ta­tions be­cause I see them every day in train­ing and I was con­vinced we could play re­ally well.”

Liver­pool are hop­ing to add to their record haul of eight League Cup tro­phies by win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time since 2012.

That would also be a first piece of ma­jor sil­ver­ware for Klopp, who ar­rived on Mersey­side in Oc­to­ber 2015, af­ter Liver­pool’s de­feats in the League Cup and Europa League fi­nals last term.

But be­fore they start to pre­pare a space in the An­field tro­phy cab­i­net, Liver­pool have to beat Southamp­ton and then Manch­ester United or Hull, who meet in the other semi.

“There is no more pres­sure on us. It’s an op­por­tu­nity. It is al­ways a new day,” said Klopp, who welcomes back Brazil play­maker Philippe Coutinho af­ter an an­kle in­jury.

“I said to the lads last year it would not be the last fi­nal they would be in­volved in and this is the first chance to prove this.” Although Klopp’s side have lost and drawn on their last two vis­its to St Mary’s, they thrashed Southamp­ton 6-1 at the same venue in the League Cup quar­ter­fi­nals last sea­son.

And Liver­pool’s hopes of ad­vanc­ing to Wem­b­ley will be aided by the ab­sence of Southamp­ton de­fender Jose Fonte.

Southamp­ton man­ager Claude Puel has con­firmed Fonte will not be part of his squad af­ter the club cap­tain handed in a trans­fer re­quest amid re­ports of pos­si­ble bids from Manch­ester United, Manch­ester City and Liver­pool.

Fonte was ab­sent for Satur­day’s FA Cup draw against Nor­wich and Puel has de­cided to leave him out again.

“Jose won’t par­tic­i­pate for this game. We will see for the next game. It is im­por­tant to keep sta­bil­ity,” said Puel, whose club haven’t reached the League Cup fi­nal since a 1979 de­feat against Not­ting­ham For­est.

“We do not know the fu­ture of Jose, it is a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in the mar­ket. I re­spect Jose, it is not an easy sit­u­a­tion for the staff or play­ers. It is dif­fi­cult.

“It is an op­por­tu­nity also for Jose to view dif­fer­ent op­por­tu­ni­ties and it is im­por­tant to re­spect this.

“For me, it is im­por­tant to keep sta­bil­ity in de­fence first, and sec­ond, we will see what the sit­u­a­tion of Jose in this mar­ket is.” — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.