Liverpool “wanted it too much” against Manchester United on Sunday and left themselves exposed, claimed Jurgen Klopp.
On the back of their colossal home record in the league coming to an end at the hands of Burnley on Thursday, Liverpool suffered a second successive defeat as they went down 3-2 in the FA Cup at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes came off the bench to score a stunning free-kick to settle a contest that delivered the quality which the league meeting between the two bitter rivals one week earlier had been severely lacking.
Mohamed Salah scored both of Liverpool’s goals in an impressive return to form, with Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford on target for United prior to Fernandes’ winner.
United had 41.6 per cent possession but managed to equal Liverpool’s tally of attempts (14) and shots on target (six).
For both of United’s first two goals, Liverpool were caught cold on the counter.
Klopp believes that was a result of his side being slightly overzealous in their desire to arrest a dismal run of form which has seen them win just once – against Aston Villa’s youngsters – in their last seven matches across all competitions.
“There was a lot of good things and some mistakes around the goals. If you want to win here you have to be absolutely top and we were not,” Klopp told reporters.
“For the first goal we had no protection, we wanted it too much. Things like this should not happen but they can happen.
“We can take things out of this game, we try to learn from every game. It’s good for Mo Salah, good for the confidence. It was a tough game. We want it hard but tonight it was not enough.
“If you win a game there are negatives, if you lose a game too, but I saw the boys really, really wanted it. We had problems on the counter-attack, it was intense, but there were positives.”
10 – Manchester United have eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup proper for the 10th time; in the competition’s history, only Liverpool themselves (12 v Everton) have knocked a particular side out more times (including finals). Bragging. pic.twitter.com/Uh1ByptM1J
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 24, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will face West Ham – and former United manager David Moyes – in the fifth round of the cup, while they also sit pretty at the top of the league as it stands.
After seeing his side fall behind to Salah’s 18th-minute chip, Solskjaer was delighted with United’s response.
“Brilliant – you know when you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good,” he told BBC Sport.
“We played some really good stuff, good goals, we have to defend well against them and we managed to react well and of course towards the end there were some moments but we kept them away.”
Fernandes ultimately made the difference, scoring with his only attempt, while he also crafted a chance for Edinson Cavani with a wonderful cross – the experienced forward heading against the post.
“Great goal, good free-kick,” Solskjaer said of Fernandes’ impact. “When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free-kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.
“He’s never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he’s playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday.”
United are now unbeaten in their last eight home games against Liverpool in all competitions (W4 D4) since a defeat in March 2014.