Another dominant showing goes unrewarded as Liverpool fire blanks at the King Power Stadium…
Liverpool’s hopes of another prolonged run in the League Cup – a competition they have won a record eight times and made at least the quarter-finals in each of the past three seasons – have been dashed at the very first hurdle.
A much-changed Reds line-up, which included full debuts for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke, were knocked-out of the competition 2-0 by Leicester City in the third round on Tuesday night.
The defeat extends Liverpool’s winless run to four matches in all competitions, but once again the outcome could, and in all reality should, have been so very different.
In a carbon copy of their back-to-back home draws with Sevilla and Burnley last week, the Merseysiders dominated possession and produced some eye-catching approach play but ultimately couldn’t make it count come the final reckoning.
On this occasion the sucker punch of a deflected Shinji Okazaki strike and a stunning long-range drive from Islam Slimani, both of which could have been avoided, left Jürgen Klopp‘s side with nothing at all to show for their endeavours.
The second half strikes coincided with the planned half-time withdrawal of Philippe Coutinho; the game’s standout performer up until that point.
During his 45 minutes on the pitch the Brazilian, ably assisted by energetic left-back Andrew Robertson, seamlessly floated between the lines and was at the heart of the visitors’ fast tempo and non-stop attacking.
Unfortunately, behind perhaps the two debutants, he was also most culpable when it came to not making the most of the openings created and turning opportunities into goals.
Assessing the cup exit at his post-match press conference, a frustrated Klopp was blunt and to the point.
“The story of this game is really easy to explain,” began the German. “We were the much better team in the first half, we played good football – really good – didn’t score, that’s sometimes a part of football.
“We were unlucky in one or two moments, maybe not clinical enough in another moment. But as long as we concede goals like we conceded today again then it is quite difficult.
“We should have scored three, but as long as you leave games open, you have to defend. You always have to defend these situations better…
“It doesn’t feel too cool but it’s the truth that we are still a good football team. I see it but unfortunately it doesn’t feel it at the moment because we exited a cup competition. We wanted to go to the next round.
“Nobody was interested in who played the better first half, everyone was interested who will go through and we are not the team that will be in the next round for some good reasons.”
The two teams meet again at the King Power on Saturday for a Premier League fixture.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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