Jurgen Klopp defends changes as Wolves knock Liverpool out of FA Cup
Dejan Lovren adds to Liverpool's defensive injury problems
Last Updated: 08/01/19 11:06am
Jurgen Klopp defended his team selection as Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup at Wolves.
The Premier League leaders were beaten 2-1 in the third-round tie at Molineux after making nine changes to the team that played Manchester City on Thursday.
The night was made worse for Klopp as centre-back Dejan Lovren suffered a hamstring injury that leaves the Reds with only one fit senior centre-back.
Wolves knock out Liverpool
Ruben Neves scored a stunning winning goal as Wolves knocked out Liverpool in the FA Cup third round with a 2-1 win at Molineux.
"Dejan was not in the plans," said Klopp. "He should have been only on the bench. But what happened and we had to change again.
"Dejan has played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks. Pretty much all the games. That was why he wasn't [going to be] involved here and then he gets injured.
"I am not sure what you would have said if I had started with Fabinho and Ki-Jana [Hoever] from the start. Maybe a few smart people would have said I didn't respect the competition.
"I changed a lot because I thought we had to not because I wanted to. The problem was that we played a similar line-up in three tough games, so it was clear we had to change."
Fabinho, playing as a makeshift centre-back, was joined by 16-year-old Hoever after Lovren went off inside the first five minutes and they were among those culpable for the opening goal by Raul Jimenez.
Divock Origi levelled things up after the break but Ruben Neves blasted a long-range strike beyond Simon Mignolet and though Xherdan Shaqiri hit the post, there was no way back.
"Everyone on the pitch struggled with the wind, with controlling the ball, and the first touch was very often not good," added Klopp.
"We lost a lot of balls, they lost a lot of balls. In the end, one of the balls we lost was a counter-attack and they scored the goal.
"We wanted to start the second half with a positive approach, improve a few things, and we scored the goal. Then Neves, with the wind in his back, hit a nice little shot.
"Then we hit the crossbar. That was the story of the game. So we brought on Mo [Salah] and Bobby [Firmino] and looked obviously a little bit different.
"But the intensity of the last few games gave me the information that it was not possible to play with the front three."
Liverpool travel to play Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday with the chance to extend their four point lead at the top of the table.