Jurgen Klopp has promised that Liverpool will “strike back” in the League Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton after losing 1-0 in the first leg at St Mary’s.
Liverpool were poor and could have lost by more, but Klopp said that reaching the Wembley final was still the target and remained “open” for his team because they only lost by one goal. When the two teams meet again on 25 January, “everything will be different”, Klopp warned.
“The performance of course doesn't feel too good,” Klopp said afterwards. “That's how it is, but for the final, I would think it's open. We will strike back. We will be a different team. It will be different. Everything will be different at Anfield. So for us it's still possible to go to Wembley and that's the target.”
Given how poor Liverpool played in this game, Klopp said that he was relieved that his team were only beaten 1-0, for which he was grateful to goalkeeper Loris Karius. But Klopp recognised that Liverpool will have to play much better when they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Sunday.
“The scoreline is the only comfort,” Klopp said. “It's the third best result you can get. If you don’t win and you don’t draw, losing 1-0 is the third best result. I don't like it too much but it's still possible. And this team always shows a reaction. We have to show a reaction against Southampton but it will be cool if we could also show a reaction at the weekend, because we probably need a better performance to get something at Old Trafford.”
Klopp said that he was surprised at how his players dropped their level after conceding to Nathan Redmond after 20 minutes. “I'm actually not used to a reaction like this from my boys,” he said, “but they have to accept that tonight it was not good.”
The one positive for Klopp was that Philippe Coutinho returned to the team after seven weeks out with an ankle injury. He came on for Gini Wijnaldum for the last 30 minutes of the second half.
“It was nice, the best news tonight,” Klopp said. “You saw immediately how important he is. Of course he’s not 100 per cent but it was important for him to have half an hour, it’s really important and he did well.”