Monday 22 January 2018

'Shane Long's handball was clear' - Jurgen Klopp criticises key decision as he loses his first ever cup semi-final

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "If we doubt the way we are after these little problems we have now, it would be a strange thing." Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

In his programme notes, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called for positivity, but after their second home defeat in five days, there was precious little of it around Anfield.

Like Swansea at the weekend, Southampton put plenty of players behind the ball, struck on the break and, had they been able to take their chances, they could have won the game by half-time.

As it was, they had to wait until Shane Long's winner, meaning that since beating Manchester City on New Years' Eve, Liverpool only victory in 2016 across seven matches, in fact, has been in the FA Cup replay at Plymouth.

Klopp's point that Liverpool should have been awarded a penalty following an infringement by Long, was more of an observation than a complaint.

"The handball was clear," he said. "Long - clear handball. I don't look for excuses but it's hard to accept it week by week."

Klopp was asked whether his players would suffer from a hangover.

"No, absolutely not," he responded. "If we doubt the way we are after these little problems we have now, it would be a strange thing. We don't have the points we want, we don't have the results we want, but we know what we want to do."

He was frustrated mostly by the strength of the wind inside Anfield. Since the building of the new main stand, the pitch has become more exposed to the elements.

"When I first came here, everybody laughed when I mentioned it," he said. "It was really difficult for all of the players tonight."

Philippe Coutinho was subdued. He started the day by signing a new contract, tying him to Anfield until 2022.

"The base is really good here and Phil is the first to show that he thinks the same," Klopp added.

Over the two legs, Southampton's aggregate victory should probably have been greater than it was.

"We've had a tough season with a game every few days," said manager Claude Puel. "Today it's fantastic to win and have this feeling for the staff, the players and our fans. But it's not finished. We are not going to Wembley to participate. We go to win this game." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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