Liverpool: Off-Colour Reds Trail Southampton
Liverpool are 1-0 down at the half way stage of their EFL Cup semi-final but manager Jürgen Klopp remains bullish...
Liverpool have it all to do if they are to reach their 13th League Cup final after turning in a poor semi-final first leg performance at Southampton on Wednesday night.
Following their frustrating scoreless draw with Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on Sunday, a far stronger Reds line-up again drew a blank as Jürgen Klopp's men failed to find the net in successive matches for the first time in almost a year.
Nathan Redmond scored the only goal of the evening in the 20th minute, following a mistake from Ragnar Klavan, but fortunately for the visitors the winger also missed a couple of other presentable openings.
For all their possession and constant probing, the Merseysiders will ultimately be relieved that the Saints won't be arriving at Anfield in a fortnight's time with a far bigger buffer.
Much of that was down to the previously maligned Loris Karius, who made a string of fine saves in the Liverpool goal.
By contrast, opposite number Fraser Forster remained relatively untested, bar a decent diving stop to deny Roberto Firmino early on.
The only other bright point for Klopp on a cold night on the South Coast was the return from injury of Philippe Coutinho; the Brazilian playing the final 29 minutes after six weeks on the sidelines.
Assessing the encounter and the tie's state of play at his post-match press conference, the German remarked: "The start was good - the start was really good. If we played like this for 90 minutes, then it would have been very difficult for Southampton to cope with it.
"But after, we conceded one goal and obviously the game changed. Even if I would try to explain it, it's not easy because I'm not actually used to a reaction like this from my boys.
"But we have to accept it, tonight it was not good. We were again dominant second half, all that stuff, they had one or two counter-attacks that's how it is, it's not a big problem. We had to defend then with passion, which we did, but we had not a lot of chances.
"We had a lot of moments in and around the box where we could have had a chance but we didn't make anything of it and that was the situation.
"The performance, of course, doesn't feel good, but for the final I would think it's still open. In this moment, two disappointed managers after the game: one because he lost and one because they only won 1-0 and have to go to Anfield afterwards.
"We will strike back, we will be a different team, a different side, everything will be different at Anfield. So, for us, it's still possible to go to Wembley, and that's the target."
Ahead of the second leg Liverpool have two Premier League fixtures and an FA Cup replay to fulfil, starting with a trip to fierce rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
So that's what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below...
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