Jurgen Klopp has shouldered the blame for Liverpool’s FA Cup exit on Saturday, which came just three days after they were knocked out of the League Cup.
The Reds were one step from Wembley when they took to the field against Southampton on Wednesday night, but a late goal earned the visitors a 1-0 win at Anfield to progress to the League Cup final 2-0 on aggregate. Three days on and it was Wolverhampton Wanderers, of the Championship, who inflicted more cup agony in the red half of Merseyside.
Liverpool made nine changes to his side which lost to the Saints, but first half goals from Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann placed Paul Lambert’s team in the driving seat for a fifth round FA Cup place. And although Divock Origi grabbed one back on 86 minutes, it wasn’t enough to spark a revival much to the regret of Klopp.
“I feel responsible for this performance because I believe we could do better – but obviously we couldn’t and we have to think about this,” said the German. “It was an important game today for us and unfortunately we couldn’t deliver. We made a lot of changes, a lot of that was because we couldn’t do it any differently but a few because we wanted to.”
For Wolves, this was one of their brightest days in their recent history. Any ambitions they had of travelling to Anfield on a regular basis in the Premier League are all but over for another season – they are 13 points off a playoff spot – but at least the victory gave their fans some cheer and maintained Lambert’s undefeated record at the famous old stadium.
“I have never been beaten here as a player or manager and that surpasses everything because of the gulf in the league and the players,” said Lambert. “I would be a fool if I thought it would be easy. I thought we deserved it. Everybody knows how Liverpool play. I thought the way to beat them was to play over the top, play counter attack. It worked incredibly well.”