Jurgen Klopp acknowledges that complaints about the conditions in Liverpool’s EFL Cup semi-final clash with Southampton have left him looking like a “funny German” but maintains that the wind was an issue.
The Reds bowed out of the competition on home soil on Wednesday, with the Saints completing a 2-0 aggregate success.
They will now face Manchester United at Wembley on February 26, with Jose Mourinho stating after his Red Devils edged out Hull City on Thursday: “Normally the stadium is windy and it’s difficult.”
The Portuguese was assumed to be taking a sly dig at Klopp, but the Liverpool boss is sticking to his guns.
He said: “I know the funny German talks about the wind, but it was an issue. I should not mention it. But for the first time in my life I saw a flat ball stop on the pitch. It was about staying concentrated.”
Klopp admits that Liverpool have suffered a loss of morale having won only one match in seven across all competitions in 2017, but insists that his outlook remains upbeat.
“How could the confidence be exactly the same after these results than winning 10 games? Of course it’s different,” he told a news conference. “It we suffer a little bit, then it looks like we suffer a lot.
“I see always the progress. I speak about mistakes, too.
“I am really fine. I don’t like the results but I see we are fighting for all the results. I am more than okay and looking forward to the next opportunity [against Wolves].
“The Swansea game [a 3-2 Premier League loss at Anfield last week] was difficult because we shouldn’t concede goals like this. Against Southampton it was a similar game, but I think they play a different style against us. They have a special ‘Liverpool style’.
Liverpool take on Championship side Wolves on Saturday at Anfield looking to secure progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup and restore some self-belief before a crucial league meeting with Chelsea next week.
Klopp expects a direct approach from the visitors but hopes his side have enough to send Paul Lambert and his players home disappointed.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 27, 2017
“I know him, a very nice man,” he said of Lambert. “He’s a Borussia Dortmund legend. He came to watch training with us. We did [coaching] licences together.
“Even when he is very nice, I would like to send him home with empty hands!
“Wolves are a pretty direct team. Long balls, aim for players up front. Our style forces the other team in a deep position. Again, a lot of work for us and not a lot of spaces. But we are used to it.
“But we play at Anfield, I think we will be dominant and we have to find the spaces.”
Klopp added that he does not expect to field the sort of experimental young team that were held to a 0-0 home draw by Plymouth Argyle in the third round, although there is a doubt over Adam Lallana, who suffered a cut against Southampton.
“We had a few knocks after the game but we will not make 10 changes. We will have a very good team,” he said.
“Lallana got a cut, I’m not sure we should try it. We will see how Nathaniel Clyne is, hopefully he can play a part.”