Liverpool’s run of two wins on the hop was stopped dead in it’s tracks at Upton Park yesterday with West Ham United comfortably easing past their visitors in the table with goals from Michail Antonio and Reds record signing Andy Carroll sealing the points for the Hammers.
“We came back a little bit in the game in the first half and everybody saw when we start playing with a clear direction then we had our moments and made chances, but we didn’t score,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp in his post match presser. “In the second half, we started OK but out of nothing it was 2-0. Of course, West Ham had chances in the first half after set-plays, throw-ins, bad defending – we showed it [to the players] at half-time on TV,” he continued. “In the second half, we had our moments again, but five against one on the sideline, nobody won the ball, cross, Carroll against Clyne, no chance for Clyney again, header and 2-0. That’s what makes me angry today because you saw in each situation when we started playing fighting football, we had better moments but we scored no goals in this game,” conceded the German manager before adding, “It’s our responsibility and it’s not a day for being disappointed, only a day for being angry about ourselves – and that’s what we are.”
It was a new year, but familiar failings for the Anfield outfit with an inability to deal with high balls into the box leading to both of West Ham’s goals and a creative dearth in the final third meaning that they could produce very little in response — problems that the Liverpool boss has suggested some players may not have the stomach to rectify with some inventive analogy about laundry lightening the mood somewhat.
“We have to defend this and we can play football. 0-0, you play football and then you will have your chances. We didn’t and that’s our fault,” said the Reds boss, continuing to plow that familiar furrow. “You have to avoid the crosses, that’s the thing. In the box in the air, it’s 50/50. If Carroll or Benteke go for the challenge it’s 60/40. But the first goal was not Carroll,” he mused. “I know how football works, we have to avoid the cross. There are crosses in the game, that’s normal. It’s football, defending is a part of football. I was a defender, I enjoyed it. It’s a nice part of the game, you get dirty after, it’s not a problem, you don’t have to wash your clothes yourself. It’s our responsibility [to defend].”