Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his charges “tried too hard” to score goals against Manchester United and left themselves too vulnerable to counter-attacks as a result. The Reds crashed out of the FA Cup in the fourth round with a 3-2 loss at Old Trafford.
The Premier League champions have now won just one of their last seven matches across all competitions, a third-round win against an understrength Aston Villa team.
Mohamed Salah scored twice in Manchester as Liverpool ended a goal drought that spanned over four-and-a-half matches.
But the visitors were undone on the counter-attack for Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford’s goals before Bruno Fernandes netted a late free-kick to put United into the fifth round, where they will face West Ham at home.
And Klopp felt that his side were too gung-ho in getting numbers forward to ensure they scored goals and left themselves open on the break.
MUST READ: Man Utd prove Liverpool are handing them Premier League title
The German insists Liverpool cannot leave themselves as exposed when they take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in the league on Wednesday night.
Spurs are one of the finest counter-attacking teams in the league and perhaps even the best with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane having been excellent this term.
And speaking to beIN SPORTS, Klopp said after the defeat to United: “There were a lot of positives, in the game the start was really positive. We were fully in the game.
“Then we lost some balls in the wrong moment which leaves counter-attacks [open] for Man United. They didn’t score with the first one but scored with the second or third situation.
“In that moment you saw when you don’t score for a while and you are so desperate to change that… We tried in these moments too hard tonight.
“We had too many possible options up front and nobody in protection [of the defence] pretty much. That’s how they scored their first goal which levels the game slightly.
“Coming out of half time, [United] getting the second goal doesn’t help obviously. But we stayed in the game, scored ours, all good, then we concede the free-kick.
“That’s then unlucky. It’s like it is. If you want to win here you have to be on your absolute top and I think we were tonight not.
“We improved in good areas, important areas, scored two goals which is good as well, but that’s it.
“The competition is over and it’s obviously not what we wanted. We have to accept that and we have to work again.”
Asked if Liverpool’s toughest task is to find the right balance between attacking and defending, Klopp continued: “Yeah. Absolutely. It was a good test tonight for our next opponent.
Liverpool boss Klopp’s decision to drop Matip vs Man Utd explained
Liverpool insiders explain Upamecano transfer plan with Man Utd keen
Liverpool have Henderson issue Klopp must fix to win more titles
“We play Tottenham so they obviously are not too bad in counter-attacking as well. We should do better but I know the boys will do it better.
“[We improve] With working. With talking about the right stuff, using the positives, using the negatives in a game as well.
“If we win a game we speak about everything, it’s not that we just then ‘oh wonderful we won’ and never speak about it. We have to analyse it and even in a positive moment we do.
“To prepare for the Tottenham game tonight was a really good example and we will improve until then.”
Rhys Williams struggled in defence for Liverpool with the 19-year-old making a crucial mistake for Rashford’s goal that made it 2-1.
But Joel Matip is expected to return to the back-line at Spurs after the Cameroonian was left out of the trip to Old Trafford having played on Thursday night against Burnley.
Only just back from injury, Liverpool are being cautious with overloading Matip given his tendency to succumb to niggles.