Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Blame me, Klopp says after Reds lose

HAPPY HUNTING GROUND:Wolves won the match 2-1, extending their manager Paul Lambert’s record of never having lost at Anfield, either as a player or as a coach

AFP, LIVERPOOL, England

Andreas Weimann of Wolverhampton Wanderers, top, goes past Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius before scoring his side’s second goal in their FA Cup fourth-round match at Anfield in Liverpool, England, on Satruday.

Photo: Reuters

Juergen Klopp accepted responsibility for Liverpool’s stunning FA Cup fourth-round exit as Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers earned a shock 2-1 win at Anfield.

Klopp’s lineup featured three teenagers and rightback Connor Randall starting his first game of the season, a selection which resulted in a third consecutive home defeat in the space of eight days.

A home loss to Swansea City all but ended Liverpool’s hopes of catching English Premier League leaders Chelsea, while Southampton won at Anfield in an EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday last week.

Liverpool must now face Chelsea in the Premier League tomorrow, fixture congestion which goes some way to explaining why Klopp chose such a weakened lineup, but the Reds boss was criticized by pundits, including England legend Gary Lineker and Liverpool great Mark Lawrenson, for his team selection and he accepted the blame.

“I’m responsible, I feel responsible for this performance,” Klopp said. “I thought we could do better and obviously we couldn’t. I have to think about this, learn about situations, players and all games. It was an important game for us and we couldn’t deliver.”

“I was asked if it is the low point of my Liverpool time until now and I don’t know if it is, but if it is, it’s a perfect point to turn around because it is not possible to go lower. It is absolutely right that it feels bad,” he said. “I don’t feel that the players let me down. I am responsible for the lineup. I saw them training and I thought that is the lineup. I am responsible for the bad things. We could have played better. Each boy could have played better. For each single performance there is an explanation. I am never too harsh in criticism and you should not be too emotional.”

Lineker was particularly damning of Klopp’s approach to the FA Cup, a competition Liverpool have won seven times.

“Don’t get Klopp playing his reserves with no European football,” Lineker said on Twitter. “Shows a lack of knowledge of the depth in English football and respect.”

Liverpool’s hopes of winning silverware this season are in tatters, but Klopp refused to be critical of any of his youngsters, or the handful of senior players who lined up alongside them.

“I cannot explain every single thing of today. I don’t look for excuses. Whatever you write, whatever you say, is absolutely OK,” he said.

Richard Stearman headed Wolves in front inside the opening minute, before Andreas Weimann doubled their lead before halftime.

Not until the 86th minute could Liverpool finally break down Wolves’ resilient defense through Divock Origi, although the hosts were unable to end Wolves manager Paul Lambert’s record of never having lost at Anfield, as a player or a manager.

“I’ve never been beaten here — that’s with Celtic, [Aston] Villa, Norwich [City] — but that one is the best,” Lambert said. “That surpasses everything because of the gulf in leagues, the gulf in players, but what we’ve got is incredible team spirit and really good young players.”

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