Early FA Cup exit is not an advantage, insists Liverpool boss Klopp
Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool’s FA Cup exit does not give them an advantage in the Premier League title race.
The Reds crashed out of the FA Cup on Monday, losing 2-1 away at Wolves, while they also lost out to Chelsea in the League Cup back in September.
Are Liverpool better off out of the cups? Five key things to know…
- Liverpool lost 2-1 to Chelsea back in September to crash out of the League Cup.
- Despite that defeat, the Reds remained unbeaten in the Premier League until their recent loss to Man City.
- As a result, Klopp’s side are now just four points ahead of their title rivals.
- Liverpool lost 2-1 at Wolves on Monday, exiting the FA Cup at the third round.
- Klopp has agreed with Pep Guardiola that going out of the cups is not an advantage.
Manchester City, meanwhile, put seven goals past Rotherham in the FA Cup at the weekend before beating Burton Albion 9-0 at the Etihad on Wednesday to effectively seal their passage to the League Cup final, following formalities in the semi-final second leg.
Pep Guardiola recently stated he would much rather remain in four competitions for as long as possible, dismissing any talk of their cup exploits giving them a disadvantage as they try to close a four-point gap between them and Liverpool.
And speaking to reporters at a recent press conference, Klopp concurred with the thoughts of his title rival.
“I know Pep said already that he prefers to be in four competitions. Yeah, I would prefer the same,” Klopp said.
“But we are not in so we have to make the best of the time we have now and get as many points as possible.”
Klopp has, in the past, been accused of not taking domestic cup competitions seriously and named a much-changed squad for Liverpool’s trip to Molineux on Monday.
Liverpool have failed to progress past the 4th round of the FA Cup since Jürgen Klopp took charge:
2015/16: 4th round
2016/17: 4th round
2017/18: 4th round
2018/19: 3rd round
The earliest exit yet. 😫 pic.twitter.com/VLxn1Wt3Gn
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 7, 2019
However, injuries dictated a large amount of those changes and the German has put that down as a factor in their rotation and subsequent cup exit.
“There’s no advantage,” he added. “If you have all your players available it’s brilliant that you can play them always, it’s really good.
“But we didn’t come through December without injuries. I think if you want to put a bet on having three centre-halves injured in the same moment, you could win a lot of money.
“It usually doesn’t happen but here it happened and was a bit of bad luck. That makes it quite a bit tricky but that’s all and now we have to use our situation.”
Liverpool travel to Brighton on Saturday, looking to reclaim their seven-point lead over Manchester City who play on Monday.
Finally, an injury boost for Klopp
The festive period certainly took its toll on Jurgen Klopp’s squad, with the likes of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Adam Lallana falling to injury, as well as Dejan Lovren in the defeat at Wolves on Monday.
However, in better news for the Reds, Klopp hinted that he may be getting some of his stars back sooner rather than later; something which could be a key factor if they hope to fend off Liverpool and secure a long-awaited Premier League title.
“We have not a massive squad at the moment in training, but they are not out for long,” he added.
“It’s not cool in this moment but in probably two weeks it looks completely different and I cannot make a decision for today and then in two weeks, I created a problem with my decision today. We are fine.”
Klopp also hinted the title race could also come down to who deals with their injury problems better.
He said: “A season is always like this: who deals the best with his problems has the most success. We had problems in the past, we dealt very well with it, and now we have a few more different problems and we will deal well with that as well.
“Then, let’s play football, nothing else. Using the quality, the potential of the boys in the best way we can.”