Jurgen Klopp says the problem was the crosses, you see?
Liverpool drew Napoli 1-1 at Anfield on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, failing to clinch a berth in the knockout rounds with one match day to spare.
The Reds’ boss figured Napoli would close down the middle of the pitch, and had a plan for it, but it just didn’t come off.
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“They closed the center so we needed to come from the wing,” Klopp said, via the BBC. “The plan is one thing but the boys have to execute it, and they crossed too early. We take that, it was always a hard one.”
Liverpool will advance with a draw or better in Austria against Red Bull Salzburg on Dec. 10. It could also advance with a loss if Napoli fails to beat Genk in Italy.
Salzburg lost 4-3 at Anfield during the first meeting but carries three away goals in case it wins and a tiebreaker is required. Napoli just needs a draw.
Klopp figured Napoli is celebrating despite failing to hold onto its Dries Mertens-supplied lead.
“In (the Napoli) dressing room they feel like they are already through and maybe they are. Everybody here thinks, ‘Oh my God, it will be tough’ and it will be tough, that much is clear.”
Predictably and understandably, Klopp joined the online chorus claiming Napoli played negative football.
“The way Napoli set up, it didn’t help that they scored, they could follow their plan all the time, we had to increase pressure all the time. We were not brilliant but we put pressure on them. I was not happy with the last 15 minutes of the first half. Second half it was just intense and of course it’s not easy, they really defended the goal they had.”
Klopp also recognized that he’s got a bigger problem, potentially, in the form of an injury to influential midfielder Fabinho.
The Brazilian had played every minute of the UCL group stage and has gone 90 minutes in all but two of their 13 Premier League matches.
“The biggest things is the Fabinho injury, that’s massive. It’s early and we all hope it’s not too serious but it’s pretty painful and in an area you don’t want to have pain, around the ankle.”
That doesn’t sound great, but Liverpool supporters can hope it’s simply a matter of Klopp being extra candid (which is why we love him).