Just recently is was revealed Jurgen Klopp wishes Liverpool exited the EFL Cup earlier in the season. Despite the bold claims there is some sense amongst the madness.
The Reds reached the semi-final stage of the competition, but were beaten over two legs by Southampton, while defeat in the FA Cup against Wolverhampton Wanderers left Liverpool’s season in limbo.
However, the win over Tottenham on Saturday took Liverpool within a point of fourth placed Arsenal. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea were knocked out the EFL Cup relatively early in the season and have gone on a terrific run in the league, and Klopp believes the extra cup matches have taken a toll on his side’s league campaign.
“We had a few moments when we didn’t deliver, didn’t perform – although not too often in the Premier League – but we should have been out of the EFL Cup last year,” Klopp said, as quoted by the Express.
“That would have meant two less defeats in this year in a moment when we needed each second for recovery and bringing a player back from injury, for recovery, for training.”
“It didn’t help, but that’s how it is. We cannot make a wish-list and say ‘What do we want?’ We have to deal with all the circumstances.”
Comparing to Chelsea
Chelsea beat Bristol City and Leicester before losing at West Ham in October, enabling Conte to play a full strength side from late October to early January, picking up 10 Premier League wins in the process.
“They left the EFL Cup when, before it started? I don’t even remember them playing one game in that competition,” Klopp continued.
“I spoke to Antonio [at Anfield] and he mentioned that they had been able to play the same 13-14 players all the time. For me that’s been the big difference for them.”
Whilst I agree and understand that Klopp feels that way, it’s easier to make such comments retrospectively. Had we won the EFL Cup I’m sure the fans would be on cloud nine.
The old saying second play is first loser springs to mind – if you’re going to lose you may as well come out early and keep the players fresh!