Liverpool’s performance against Napoli on Wednesday was heavily criticized as the team led by Klopp for the first time, played a game where they had no shots on target as Napoli inflicted the first defeat on the best team in England so far this season.
Although they are being given the stick for their poor game, Liverpool’s performance in a way did not come as a shock, given their hectic schedule last week, playing PSG and Chelsea twice and then Napoli.
Reacting to his team losing against Napoli, manager Klopp said although he was not shocked at the poor performance of his team, they could have done better defending the goal, blaming his defence for allowing a late goal.
Liverpool’s game against Napoli was their first time of losing this season and their worst performance so far, but Klopp does not see it that way.
Speaking to the club website Liverpoolfc.com, the German coach praised his goalkeeper Alisson for putting out a good performance in their 1-0 defeat to Napoli.
On the result and the cause of Liverpool’s ‘uncharacteristic’ performance…
For the exact reason I am not 100 percent sure but it was obvious. The start of the game was OK, it was like we wanted it, and then we had… the timing for our defensive movements were not good enough, we did not close the spaces in the right moment.
We didn’t react in the right situation so they could play through our formation. Things like this happen in a game very often but not as often as it happened tonight, and that costs energy because we closed these gaps too late. To close it we had to fight really hard for it and then when you have the ball you have to play much calmer than we did.
There was not that much pressure from Napoli, it feels like if you looked at how we played then it looked like they were constantly on us, but it was not like this. We could’ve played really calmer, prepared the situations better but we didn’t, so we didn’t create a lot of chances.
First half was kind of OK, but second half was not good enough. It’s always a bad sign if you have to say your goalkeeper was your best player, but that was obvious tonight. Then in the last minute, we made another tactical mistake and that’s the problem.
We didn’t close the gap between Joe and Virg, we have to do that, and then we cannot react anymore. We didn’t concede a lot of goals in the season but that’s the second of the same kind, so I think we should sort that immediately. But all the rest, I have to accept it and I can accept it.
I have a big part of that performance, it was my fault for sure, but I need at least one night to watch the game again to know exactly what was the fault. But it looked not like it should have looked.
On Carlo Ancelotti’s approach:
Carlo Ancelotti is an outstanding manager. We lost a football game and it’s very often quite difficult to explain why you performed like you performed before you see the game again. I’m pretty sure the reasons will be obvious and then we will sort it, but tonight, we said it already, we were not good enough – and if you are not good enough, normally you will lose football games and that happened to us tonight. That’s it.
On facing Manchester City on Sunday to finish an intense run of fixtures:
Yes, it is a tough game [v City]. Absolutely. And you have seen it has been absolutely intense since the last international break with the games we’ve had – twice Chelsea and stuff like that, coming to Napoli, playing PSG and now we have the game on Sunday against Man City.
We cannot change that, so we have to make sure we are ready. You [the media] were all full of praise about the season we played so far and stuff like that. Now tonight, we didn’t perform and that’s how football works – against a good side in the Champions League, you lose. That’s happened and not more. We don’t have to think now about intensity or whatever.
We have three days to recover and then we will face Man City. It would have been difficult at any time in the season, it is never easy against them. Now, let’s have a look afterwards, how the players are, what happened in the game, injury-wise, little knocks and stuff like that. Then we will prepare for Sunday. Then we have our crowd in the back. You could see tonight, Napoli used the atmosphere and we couldn’t calm it down with our performance. But on Sunday that – at least – will be 100 per cent different.
On whether he was ‘shocked’ by Liverpool’s performance:
No, no, not shocked. It was just that after the first 15 or 20 minutes, Napoli played how they played and we didn’t adapt. That happens. Do you want to have games like this? No. Did it happen already to me a few times? Yes, of course. Now we have to use it immediately, that’s how analysis works.
The boys still wanted it – but to want it is one thing, you have to do the right things in the right moments and we didn’t do that. That’s something we have to admit and we do, we respect that. That’s why you don’t want to lose because it feels so average. That’s why we try everything to change that immediately. Tonight we cannot change it anymore.
On Liverpool having no shots on target:
They won the game because they scored a goal, but obviously no attempt on target [for us]… I don’t remember when that happened last. I am really fine to give the credit to Napoli, but I think we had a big part in it as well. We can play much better and they defended a few situations in the last moment. We didn’t have a lot of set pieces, no shots on target, that’s not enough. It felt like this in the game and now we have to change it. Napoli made a really good game, we didn’t, and that’s why they deserve the three points.”