Liverpool have been eliminated from the FA Cup after they were beaten 2-1 by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in the third-round stage.
Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves struck for the hosts, with a Divock Origi effort in between for the Reds, who handed senior debuts to Curtis Jones, Rafa Camacho and Ki-Jana Hoever.
Club manager, Jürgen Klopp, explained the factors he felt caused Liverpool’s elimination from the FA Cup after their 2-1 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.
Goals from Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves knocked the Reds out in the third round on a night when Divock Origi briefly brought the visitors level and Xherdan Shaqiri later struck the woodwork.
Klopp had made nine changes to his starting XI – and was forced into another on six minutes, with 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever replacing the injured Dejan Lovren – and detailed why they were necessary during his post-match press conference.
He also reflected on the efforts of youngsters Rafael Camacho and Curtis Jones, who each made their senior debuts for the club, and more.
On whether he had to make nine changes for the game…
It was for different reasons. After the City game we immediately had a few players who were ill, who showed a sore throat and all you can have in this period of the year. A few of them were not even in after the City game, so there was no chance. Pretty much all the players who were not here today had little problems, apart from Ali. So we had to make late changes; yesterday, Adam [Lallana] was in our plans, like Hendo was in the plans. Dejan was not in the plans, he should only have been on the bench and then what happened, happened. That doesn’t help a lot and we had to change again. We wanted to control the game because we were completely new, especially defensively. So it makes sense that you keep the ball. The wind didn’t help with that, to be honest, obviously everybody on the pitch struggled a bit with controlling the ball and the first touch was, very often, not that good. They lost a lot of balls, we lost a lot of balls. In the end, one of the balls we lost was a counter-attack and they score a goal.
Second half, we wanted to start new, finding a positive approach again, do it just a little bit better than the first half. We scored a goal. Then Neves from long range with the wind at his back, nice little shot. We hit the crossbar and the story of the game was done. We brought Mo and Bobby on and it looked obviously a little bit different. But the intensity of the last few games gave me the information it was not possible to start with these three up front. Only Dejan played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks, pretty much all the games, that’s why he was not involved [in the original plans]. He played today and was injured; Hendo yesterday; Millie had his injury already. That’s the situation – not too cool. It was not really to change for today. That’s the story of the game.
On the chances given to young players…
We are not here to be new world-record holders for the youngest team. It’s nice. The boys are around and train with us because we think they are good enough. If we play 10 v 10 [in training] they are on the other team and, believe me, they play much better than they did tonight. Today the game started not so cool with the change, which immediately changed the mood. If you are out there and the coach tells you to play football, [but] the wind is blowing from different directions, you control the ball and become a bit nervous, you have no rhythm. These boys played because they are in our squad and are good enough, that’s all. They did well but they can do much better. It’s not that I say they can do now in this moment much better. In a game which suits them a bit more, if you are 2-0 or 3-0 up, bring them on and they can really make a difference – that’s 100 per cent. Today they did the job and that’s OK.
On the performances of Liverpool’s more experienced players…
All these things that came out are really my responsibility, so it’s about rhythm. Of course, you know they have rhythm. Div, can he have rhythm? No, not really. Daniel, maybe a bit more. Alberto, no, no rhythm. That of course doesn’t help footballers against a [tough] opponent. We played Wolves here two or three weeks ago and they are really strong. We won, yes, but we knew it was really tough here. Now we played today, they didn’t change a lot – if they changed something – so that’s not easy. Do I expect? I always expect a lot more from the players. Do I think they could have delivered [more] today? I am not 100 per cent sure. It’s not my job to say now, ‘that was not good enough, that was not good enough’ because I know they can do much better. I changed a lot because I thought we had to, not because I wanted to and to say, ‘come on, let’s have a look at how that works’ because it was clear Wolves would not change a lot. The problem is, we played a similar line-up and had three tough games in the last couple of weeks, so it was clear we had to change. That’s it, that’s all.