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8 days ago
What Now for Liverpool After the FA Cup Defeat?
As Liverpool exited the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat to Wolves at Molineux, Jurgen Klopp accepted responsibility for fielding one of the weakest Liverpool line-ups since the days of Roy Hodgson, even though "We played Wolves here two or three weeks ago and they are really strong" and "It was clear Wolves would not change a lot.” (image source) He said "I am sure some very smart people tell me I do not respect the competition", but Klopp defended his team selection on the grounds that after an intensive run of games he said "it was clear we had to change", these changes being forced upon him, as the camp either needed a rest before the next run of games, or were suffering the effects of an illness bug and other "little problems." It was a frustrating night for Klopp, he had intended to start Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, but couldn't and he planned to put Lovren on the bench, but had to start him, only to see him go down with a hamstring injury after 6 minutes of the game. (image source) Another source of frustration for Klopp was the performance of some of the out-of-favour players, who had a chance to show what they could do against Wolves, namely Moreno and Sturridge. Divock Origi was praised for his goal in the 51st minute, but in the first half he bore a strange resemble to Salif Diao and it was notable how much more running he did after the interval. I think he was told in no uncertain terms to do more. Although Ruben Neves produced a great strike from 31 yards out, Simon Mignolet was beaten at his near-post. Liverpool carried more threat after the big-guns, Salah and Firmino, came on during the second half and only a great, fingertip save by Ruddy from Shaqiri's free kick prevented an equalizer. One positive on the night was the performance of some of the young players brought into the team; the highly rated Teenager, Ki-Jana Hoever, poached from the Ajax academy, came on as a substitute for Lovren and he has already drawn comparisons to his compatriot, Virgil Van Dijk. Rafael Camacho, the 18 year old Portuguese, started at right-back and looked confident and assured on the ball. Curtis Jones also featured on the left and looks to be a player of some promise. Klopp stated that "It is only about if you are good enough - not how old you are", "The boys are around and train with us because we think they are good enough” The other positive will be that Liverpool can now concentrate on the Premier League, the prize most coveted by Liverpool fans and had Klopp played a full strength team against Wolves and picked up a few more injuries, then people would have been questioning his judgment. We can also look forward to the Champions League game against Bayern Munich, in February. We've got a great manager and I think we can expect to see Klopp bring in a defender in the January transfer window, with Mats Hummels being linked, although this doesn't appear to be a very convincing rumour, it's credibility based on the fact that Klopp and Hummels know and like each other. But, a defensive signing in January looks to be on the cards. I am convinced that Fenway will give Klopp the tools to finish the job
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