In the midst of a bisy fixture schedule, Jurgen Klopp found a way to get a results from a trip to Exeter in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on Friday.
The injuries to first team players saw Klopp send in a relatively young team with just three senior team players in Enrique, Bogdan and Benteke.
Though it was not the best result, Klopp was happy with the performance of his team and after the match said, “(My players) tried everything. We have to be more robust. It was really difficult. It was really difficult on the pitch but Exeter did really well – maybe they know on which part of the pitch it’s possible to play football!
“They won too many easy flick-on’s, it was really difficult. Both goals were really unlucky for us. We made the draw but we have to play again – I can’t believe another game!”
Klopp has been under tremendous pressure recently with the run of poor results but the manger backed his team up after the 2-2 draw at St James’ on Friday. He made it a point to mention that the XI on the night was an experiment and that the players should not be blamed for the result.
“If you want to criticize anyone, criticize me and leave the players alone,” Klopp said after goals from Jerome Sinclair and Brad Smith prevented Liverpool losing to fourth-tier opposition in the FA Cup for the first time.
“If they made mistakes it’s my responsibility, they helped us at this moment.”We tried to create a line-up under time and pressure. “They came back yesterday, we trained together and again this morning for about 40 minutes.”We tried to create a common plan and idea, it wasn’t too good, not too bad. “But it showed in football that you must work together and train together, and that’s not what we could do with this team.”
Talking about Exeter taking the lead twice, “We didn’t defend too well and we lost a lot of one-on-one situations,” Klopp said. “The pitch was difficult for both teams, they scored from their first attack and then from a corner.
“The second goal was something like a miracle, it wasn’t too easy for the young boys. “We had a few moments, but not enough, and it didn’t work 100 per cent.”But the draw was the logical result, we deserved it.”
Liverpool might play a whole of 6 matches in the next 18 days and Klopp was not too happy with the number of fixtures. A victory in this game could have seen the club play one match less but the draw now means that the Merseysiders will welcome Exeter in the replay of the 3rd round.
“Of course it’s difficult,” the manager said. “We have two other games and then the replay is after Man U. If the situation doesn’t change we will play the same team or a little bit different with other young players.
“I can’t change it. So we have to try now to give the intensity to different players. We have to try it in the FA Cup and accept what happens.
“We had more games than some other teams because we’re still in the Capital One Cup, we played the Europa League. And the main problems we have is because our centre-halves are injured at this moment.”
Klopp went on about how his players gave it their all and that they were not responsible for the performances on the pitch because of the preparation time he has had with the player.
Klopp added, “If they made mistakes, it was my responsibility. If they made mistakes one-on-one, it’s the responsibility of all the coaching staff. It’s not the players. We picked them to help us in this moment. They did. We drew 2-2.”
“We have to respect our situation. We were here to win through to the next round. It didn’t work 100 percent but it did 50 percent. Now we have another game at Anfield. It is like it is. I can’t believe we have another game!”