Jürgen Klopp admitted full-responsibility for Liverpool’s latest embarrassing defeat, this one in the FA Cup at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The result, against an opponent placed 18th in Championship, was Liverpool’s third setback at Anfield in seven days.
Klopp had made nine changes to the side that lost against Southampton on Wednesday night. Liverpool fell behind to Richard Stearman’s headed goal after 57 seconds before Andreas Weimann doubled the visitors’ lead ahead of half time.
Klopp insisted that his decision to make so many changes was based on what he saw in training on Friday, with many of those left out conditioned to feature.
“I am responsible and I feel responsible because the performance could have been better and it wasn’t,” he said. “It was an important game for us and we did not deliver.”
Klopp acknowledged that Liverpool’s confidence is low. Their season has disintegrated very quickly and another defeat to Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday night would not only put them 13 points behind Antonio Conte’s side at the top of the Premier League but it would also break new history: Liverpool have not lost four games at home in a row since December 1923.
Paul Lambert, the Wolves manager, had come to Anfield with a game plan and executed it perfectly – like Paul Clement and like Claude Puel before him. It should worry Klopp that opposing managers are now talking openly about the quite simple formula required to beat Liverpool.
“Our counter attacking was incredible,” he said. “Everybody knows how Liverpool play, they try to win it high up the pitch and smother you. The solution was to defend deep and knock it over the top and get after it.”
Lambert has never lost a game at Anfield, not as a player or a manager. He won here with Celtic and his record at Aston Villa read: played three, won two, drew one. This result was achieved largely thanks to the attacking performance of Helder Costa, who is on loan from Benfica. The Portuguese winger was substituted, with Wolves supporters singing, “sign him up.”
“The parties are talking,” Lambert tried to reassure. “As a footballer and a guy, you would take him, hands down. The other side of the coin, finances, I can’t influence. As a foreign kid in Britain, he’s been exceptional. He has been playing like that for weeks. They have all been performing. We have been playing really well. Helder has been getting the limelight because of the way the kid plays but they all have. Today is about the team.”
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