Liverpool’s exit in the fourth round of the FA Cup against Brighton prompted some staunch criticism of their performance from left-back Andy Robertson as well as manager Jurgen Klopp. The Reds were in utter distraught as they got knocked out of both the domestic cups, the League Cup and the FA Cup, which they are current holders of. Moreover, the Seagulls clinched the victory in some fashion, through Kaoru Mitoma’s stoppage time winner.
Liverpool’s shock defeat and early exit from another cup competition has only lamented on the poor season they are already having. Jurgen Klopp’s side is out of Premier League title race, sitting ninth in the table, knocked out of both the domestic cup competitions and face Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16. In such circumstances, Robertson rather gave a harsh review of Liverpool’s season, which according to him as gone from bad to worse.
‘It’s not 100% true but it’s not 100% wrong’ – Jurgen Klopp on Robertson’s assessment
Robertson was evidently frustrated with Liverpool’s embarrassing defeat against Brighton, their second against De Zerbi’s side within a space of 15 days. However, the damage done this time was slightly a costlier one since Liverpool’s chance of winning a silverware this season further faded away. They are now solely dependant on the Champions League, but with this form, that trophy too looks unattainable. Robertson lamented on ITV after the loss:
“It’s bitterly disappointing. We were more competitive than two weeks ago but that didn’t take much. We created chances and were more compact but at the end of the day we are out of the cup. At a club like Liverpool, fans expect a lot and to lose with the last kick of the ball it’s disappointing. We need to start winning games. It’s easy to say but harder to fix.
“This season has been nowhere near good enough. At the start of the year, we wanted a fresh start but that hasn’t happened. We’ve been worse. In the league, we haven’t been good enough and now we’re out of both cups now. You can’t put your finger on one thing, it’s more than that. You can tell we’re not as confident in front of goal and in defence we are a wee bit open. We had two clean sheets coming into today but then go and concede two goals.
“We need to get the confidence back, it’s easier said than done, and that’s how we will get results. We need to do it quick and we’re not. That it doesn’t help the fans, I’m sorry for them and the way we are putting on a show. We let them down again.”
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp too provided his assessment, which may have be similar to that of Robertson, but argued that what the Scotsman said wasn’t all true. Klopp, who is currently overseeing maybe the toughest season he has had at the club, responded to Robertson’s comments in his post match presser:
“It’s not 100 per cent true but it’s not 100 per cent wrong. Of course we wanted a new start, that was clear after the World Cup. So far it hasn’t happened properly, that’s true. That means we have to keep working, there’s nothing else you can do. There were good performances today as well, good moments which we need to build on.’
“We came here after a game a few weeks ago when we weren’t even close to ourselves. Today we played a better game but we concede two goals from set-pieces and that is not allowed in any way. It doesn’t feel great. In time we might see the positives but we wanted to get the next round. Congratulations to Brighton.”
While assessing their season can go on for longer for Jurgen Klopp and Andy Robertson, they quickly need to respond to this fresh setback. Liverpool are a stunning 10 points adrift of Champions League places in the league table, and could even miss out on the competitions next season. Klopp will also have to motivate and prepare his team for the Real showdown which is fast approaching, on 22 February.