Belfast Telegraph

Klopp happy but says his side must be more ruthless

By Carl Markham

Jurgen Klopp was impressed with Liverpool's performance as they took a first-leg lead in their Capital One Cup semi-final tie against Stoke City.

The Anfield boss, however, was disappointed that his team didn't win by a greater margin than the 1-0 they managed at the Britannia Stadium, with Jordon Ibe scoring the only goal.

The major problem for Klopp, however, was the loss of two more players, Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren, to potentially serious hamstring injuries.

"I am absolutely proud of the performance of my team," said Klopp.

"The only thing we can criticise is our finishing again. We had a good structure, played good football, everything was good, but we don't score enough goals.

"From the first second of the game, they gave the perfect reaction from the last game (the loss against West Ham) but we had two bad injuries and that's why I'm not just lucky."

Asked if they would be long-term injuries, the German added: "I don't know, but when two players go out, you have watched British football longer than I have so you know what it means."

Klopp added: "We now have three injured centre-halves and the only fit one (Kolo Toure) got a cramp in the last minute, that's not funny."

Ibe was unable to clear up the doubts over whether Joe Allen was intending to shoot when he provided the assist for the goal. The scorer, however, did admit he thought Allen's pass was in fact an attempted shot.

"I think he was trying to get the shot off, but it was good that we got the goal," he said.

Lucas Leiva, who captained the team in the absence of Jordan Henderson and James Milner - who replaced Lovren after just 34 minutes - put Liverpool's win down to the players having a point to prove after they lost 2-0 to West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday.

"It was clear that we had to change something from the West Ham game," he said.

"Especially in the first minute when we started really well. When we start well, we always play well and this was the case.

"We had bad luck with injuries early on but to keep a clean sheet and score an away goal, now we go to the second leg trying to get a win."

Lucas moved into the heart of the defence alongside Toure after Lovren's injury and looked comfortable as they secured a clean sheet to ensure Liverpool will take a lead into the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday, January 26.

And with an injury crisis in defence, he is ready to play there again.

"It's always hard but it's a position that I've played in a few games this season," he said.

"If the manager needs me then I need to deliver. I think as a team we were really good. That's the experience and when we are aggressive and we do what we have to do, we play well."

Belfast Telegraph

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