In Review

Carabao Cup: shapeless Liverpool knocked out by Leicester

Boss Jurgen Klopp left feeling sick after disappointing cup display

Leicester City 2 Liverpool 0

The Reds are still without a win in September after two second-half goals ended their interest in the Carabao Cup. 

“The story of this game is really easy to tell,” said Jurgen Klopp, who last saw his side win in August when they thrashed Arsenal 4-0.

“We were the much better team in the first half, we didn’t score – that’s sometimes part of football. It was unlucky in one or two moments, maybe not clinical enough in others. But as long as we concede goals like we conceded again, then it is quite difficult.”

The visitors did indeed dominate the first half at the King Power Stadium with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke both wasting good opportunities to put Liverpool ahead.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first start for his new club since signing from Arsenal, saw his shot blocked while Solanke should really have done better with his header.

The momentum shift came at the break when Klopp replaced the impressive Philippe Coutinho with the young Ben Woodburn. The 17-year-old has shone for Wales in their recent World Cup qualifiers but he still very much a work in progress who lacks Coutinho’s quality.

Leicester meanwhile benefited from the second-half introduction of Shinji Okazaki and it was the Japanese striker who gave the hosts the lead on 65 minutes when he fired home Vicente Iborra’s knockdown.

Islam Slimani’s emphatic strike on 78 minutes sealed the win for the Foxes and left Klopp feeling like the proverbial parrot.

“That we concede like this, that makes me really, really sick,” said the German of his side’s defence that has now leaked ten goals in four games.

“We should have scored three but as long as you leave games open, you have to defend. We always have to defend these situations better. The second ball after the corner, it’s close but it’s not offside. So we need to make it more clear that it’s offside.

“The only thing you can do is to push up – we didn’t. With the second one it is a throw-in again. Everyone can imagine we know how to defend them but obviously we don’t do it, because always somebody else is doing it. It doesn’t feel too cool but it’s the truth.”

Liverpool return to Leicester on Saturday for their Premier League clash, and next week travel to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League.

With the Liverpool Echo talking of “growing criticism” on Merseyside about the team’s performances, Klopp knows he must find three points from somewhere. 

“We are still a good football team,” he said. “Believe it or not tomorrow I’ll be fine. I will be before the game for sure, in a better shape.”

But it’s not his shape that the fans are worried about, it’s the team’s, and at the moment the Reds are shapeless, and winless.

Last night’s results

  • Aston Villa 0 Middlesbrough 2 
  • AFC Bournemouth 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 (AET)
  • Brentford 1 Norwich City 3
  • Bristol City 2 Stoke City 0
  • Burnley 2 Leeds United 2 (AET, Leeds win 5-3 on penalties)
  • Crystal Palace 1 Huddersfield Town 0
  • Leicester City 2 Liverpool 0
  • West Ham United 3 Bolton Wanderers 0
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Bristol Rovers 0 (AET)
  • Reading 0 Swansea City 2
  • Tottenham Hotspur 1 Barnsley 0 

Tonight’s Carabao Cup fixtures (7.45pm unless stated)

  • Arsenal vs. Doncaster Rovers 
  • Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest 
  • Everton vs. Sunderland 
  • Manchester United vs. Burton Albion (8pm)
  • West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City (8pm)

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