Football: 'Sick' Klopp is left red-faced

Leicester City's Islam Slimani scores their second goal in the 2-0 League Cup defeat of Liverpool on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp's men had 70 per cent possession but the Foxes were inspired by Shinji Okazaki coming on as a substitute.
Leicester City's Islam Slimani scores their second goal in the 2-0 League Cup defeat of Liverpool on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp's men had 70 per cent possession but the Foxes were inspired by Shinji Okazaki coming on as a substitute.PHOTO: REUTERS

Liverpool boss fumes after League Cup loss to Foxes reinforces their defensive vulnerability

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp said he felt "really sick" with Liverpool's defending after they conceded two poor goals - both on the back of set pieces - during a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City that ended their League Cup hopes and extended the club's disappointing run of results.

Forward Shinji Okazaki scored Leicester's first goal after Liverpool could not clear a corner and provided an assist for striker Islam Slimani for the second following a throw-in, leaving Klopp lamenting familiar failings.

"We played really good football in the first half, we should have decided the game early. We had big chances but it's football," said the Liverpool manager, who saw his side held to a 1-1 draw at home by Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

"It's a second ball after a corner, I think, and a throw-in again. I'm sick of goals like this to be honest, you cannot play football and do that.

"They scored too easy. I can say it one time or 1,000 times or whatever - it's not nice to have to concede these goals."

Liverpool enjoyed 70 per cent of the ball in the third-round tie and had 21 shots compared to Leicester's eight, but as usual, failure to cope with basic defensive tasks cost them dearly.

The Reds have kept only two clean sheets in nine matches so far this season and are winless in four games in all competitions.

For Leicester, Okazaki coming on as a substitute in the 53rd minute changed the mood of the game.

The Japanese gave the Foxes urgency and a creative touch. Once he was on, the memory of Leicester's first-half labours faded as quickly as Liverpool.

Klopp's side had only themselves to blame when they fell behind shortly after the hour mark. They had played well, created chances but failed to take them.

They had also dominated the first half and should have been at least two goals to the good by the break, such was the quality of Philippe Coutinho in particular.

The Brazilian forward lit up the first 45 minutes, starting tucked in on the left but moving all over, demanding the ball and then twisting and turning and constantly wrong-footing Leicester.

  • 21 

    Shots Liverpool had without scoring.

Liverpool's formation was nominally 4-1-2-3, but it seemed as if they played with just two defenders at times. Such was the advanced nature of Jon Flanagan and particularly Andrew Robertson from full-back which exposed their backline.

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare capitalised on Liverpool's defensive fragility, and said that it was crucial to score the first goal.

"Of course first half we thought it was going to be Liverpool. But it's about staying in the game and to get the first goal was massively important," he told Sky Sports.

"We spoke to the boys about being more aggressive and playing with a bit more intent. And bringing Shinji on makes that bit of difference. He plays with that intent, desire and enthusiasm."

Liverpool visit Leicester's King Power Stadium again on Saturday in the Premier League.

"Will I still feel sick when I come back here on Saturday? I lost more games in my life unfortunately and, believe me or not, tomorrow morning I am fine," Klopp insisted.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline ''Sick' Klopp is left red-faced'. Print Edition | Subscribe