Jovanovic stunned by Carling 'catastrophe'

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If Roy Hodgson thinks that Liverpool's defeat to Northampton Town in the Carling Cup on Wednesday will be quickly forgotten the midfielder Milan Jovanovic will have rid him of that notion yesterday when he described the defeat as a "catastrophe".

The Serbian international scored his first goal for Liverpool at Anfield but took no pleasure from it as Hodgson's team were knocked out by League Two opposition on penalties despite starting with six full internationals.

"Catastrophe," said Jovanovic. "I am so disappointed. What can I say? It was a very difficult night for me, for all the players and the team. Of course we feel sorry for the fans. We know this is not Liverpool. It is very bad. I am so surprised by the performance. I have not got enough experience of English football but I didn't expect this.

"Northampton played a really good game. We played a bad game. We started very nice but I don't know why we lost the ball so fast or why we couldn't keep the ball. We had a lot of young players and sometimes you need experience. We tried to run a lot but we lost our condition and it ended up being difficult to do something special in attack.

"But this is football. I am so disappointed. We all are. We are sorry for the result but we have to move on now."

Liverpool must regroup quickly as they face Sunderland tomorrow at Anfield and Jovanovic knows they owe it to the Kop to come up with an immediate response. "Every game from now is very important," he said. "We have got five points from five games. It is not enough but we have had five very difficult games." Liverpool have so far played Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United in their five league matches.

"We just have to pass one difficult test [against Sunderland] and maybe in the next three or four games we can start to collect a lot of points. We have to stick together."

The £11m Dutch striker Ryan Babel, who started the match but failed to impress, admitted he "failed personally" yesterday. "No excuses for last nite," he wrote on his Twitter page. "We weren't good enough. And I failed personally. Haven't lost faith, so I keep working."

The club's captain Steven Gerrard was not involved in the defeat but yesterday said it was the responsibility of him and other senior players to lift the spirit of the club.

"Football isn't just about highs," he said. "Throughout my career I have experienced both highs and lows and probably learnt more from the lows because you look at yourself first, look at what went wrong and try to learn from your mistakes. The players are allowed to be down today but it's up to players like myself to pick them back up.

"Playing for this club there are big games every two or three days and we need to get everyone's head focused on Sunderland now. What I would ask all the supporters is to trust the players and what the players are saying.

"I've been reading and listening to what they've been saying and they've all said we'll get it right in the end – and we will."