Klopp hammers Reds for losing their cool

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius fisting the ball away during a set-piece situation against West Ham. The German, in his debut Premier League season, has been under fire with his displays between the sticks in the Reds' last two games against the Ha
Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius fisting the ball away during a set-piece situation against West Ham. The German, in his debut Premier League season, has been under fire with his displays between the sticks in the Reds' last two games against the Hammers and Bournemouth.PHOTO: REUTERS

German laments lack of control during West Ham draw as Karius bears Carragher's wrath

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp bemoaned his side's defending and lack of composure after they fell behind in the Premier League title race with a 2-2 draw at home to struggling West Ham.

Divock Origi scored for the fourth consecutive match after Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph's blunder to save a point for the frail Reds who sit third, six points behind leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius last week gave Bournemouth a winner and Klopp's side - so good going forward and top of the table last month - are being regularly undermined by their defensive failings.

Karius' positioning on Sunday for West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet's equaliser, which cancelled out Adam Lallana's early opener, was once again questionable.

Michail Antonio then capitalised on a mistake by Joel Matip to put the visitors 2-1 up before Origi's fortuitous 48th-minute leveller.

Klopp was hardly convincing in his defence of the German stopper Karius, 23, saying merely that he had "no idea" whether his summer signing was at fault for the Payet free-kick because he had seen it just once.

But the Liverpool boss was clearly not happy with the way his side were opened up by West Ham at Anfield.

"Nearly everybody was involved in our offensive situations and we had two centre-backs and sometimes Hendo (Jordan Henderson) behind the ball, and nearly everybody else the other side," he said.

"We had a problem with second balls but not too often. The goals (we conceded) weren't in situations like that but we let the game go a little bit away in these moments. We were not completely in control like we could have been."

Klopp acknowledged that on current form it will be difficult to catch red-hot Chelsea, who have won their last nine Premier League matches and now look the team to beat.

"It's difficult to stay in the race with Chelsea when they win everything. This is the moment to collect as many points as possible," he added, calling for his side to remain calmer in future.

"The way to get a real top-flight team is for them to make the right decisions, and stay cool."

Compared to Klopp, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was less forgiving when it came to Karius.

Following his error at Bournemouth, the German was criticised by both Carragher and his fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

Karius responded by ridiculing Neville's coaching career at Valencia, claiming he was "back to being an expert again", but accepted the former Reds defender's critique.

Carragher did not spare him on Sunday, saying: "The 'keeper got criticism last week and he's come out this week and had a pop at Gary Neville.

"My advice to him would be just shut up and do your job."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was pleased with the point which saw his side climb out of the relegation zone, even though they have not won in six matches.

"We showed a great reaction after the goal," the Croatian said.

"Particularly in the first half, I was pleased. I was pleased with the character over the 90 minutes, but in the first half, we showed we could hurt them."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp hammers Reds for losing their cool'. Print Edition | Subscribe