Jürgen Klopp saw some encouraging signs from Liverpool's display in the 2-1 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion but determined it not good enough to progress in the Emirates FA Cup.
The Reds went in front at the Amex Stadium through Harvey Elliott’s neat finish; however, Lewis Dunk deflected a shot from Tariq Lamptey to wrong-foot Alisson Becker and level before the break.
The fourth-round tie was then settled in favour of Brighton two minutes into stoppage time when Kaoru Mitoma controlled a cross from Pervis Estupinan and finished from close range.
Read on to see for a summary of what Klopp had to say in his post-match press conference.
On the defeat and Liverpool's performance...
We came here to go through to the next round, with the game a couple of weeks ago in mind, which was pretty much rock-bottom of the performances we had in my time [here]. So that was better today, much better. But still, in the end, we concede two goals from set-pieces. We pretty much closed the gaps where they passed through last time, but around set-pieces that doesn't help, so you have to do different stuff, so twice we were not close enough to avoid the goal. That doesn’t feel great, obviously. That's not cool, but we have to take it.
On the game opening up towards the end...
Different things. The set-up for the first half was really good. Cody helped us massively with the ball, without the ball, in the centre. Harvey on the left-wing, defensively we can really use him, he is really in there. The midfield did that, but when we change then, that’s how it sometimes happens. Obviously for Darwin it’s a bit more tricky to do all these kind of things, he is not used to it, and we have to really work a lot with him to involve him in these moments. Against a well-drilled team like Brighton, if not all positions work really well together then all of a sudden… They only play for this one gap. They play for one gap where they pass the ball through and then whoever – Mac Allister or Gross, or Welbeck or Ferguson – turns and from there they go. We closed these gaps for the majority of the time, but then all of a sudden not that well anymore.
It’s not that we were that much under pressure, we had our moments as well in the late period of the game. That's how football is, everything opens up a little bit. Again, the goal happened after a set-piece – and the set-piece shouldn't have happened because we could have won that ball in a heading situation already. Ibou plays now a lot; you can see in the situation, I think he could have won this challenge in the first place, but Mac Allister can get the ball down without a foul, if I am 100 per cent right. Then, a little bit later, the things happen how they happen. We have still space for improvement. We make steps but we have to improve, we have to improve further on and that's what we will do.
On lifting the squad...
Yeah, of course, that's important. Absolutely. I think this is really a way you can get knocked out of a cup competition. If we are in a better situation, 10 points more in the league and stuff like this and then you lose here at Brighton, you just say, 'Respect.' What they do is really good. But we are obviously in a situation where we constantly want to make the final step, and that’s why it feels now especially bad in this moment because it didn't happen. But there were, again, steps in the right direction – you can imagine nobody wants to hear that anymore, I cannot hear it anymore, but it's still right. That means we have to go from there.
Now we play Wolves again and we will try there again and that’s how it is. We have to build on these kind of things, we have to improve, we have to do better, body language with a couple of boys has to be much better, defending in the formation has to be better from a few. The last game here we couldn’t have won, no chance. I was happy that we got more. Today, I think nobody would have been surprised if we’d won this game, so it's not, 'How did that happen?' So that's good but for today and for the competition not good enough and that's why we are out.
On him saying he wanted 'to see better body language'...
Look, I am not over the moon about this performance but, again, the only thing that happened really is that we lost against a good side, who we lost [to] two weeks ago in a horrendous game. Today was much better. With the performance from today two weeks ago, that would've looked different as well. There are really steps. But I understand 100 per cent. I don't sit here and think, 'What are they talking about?' I understand 100 per cent where you are coming from. But it's just the situation we are in.
There's no other way – and you know it as good as I do – [than] to fight through. You never hear a manager sitting in a situation like this, 'By the way, we change that and then you will see against Wolves.' It doesn’t go like this and that’s why we keep working 100 per cent. Again, I'm very sorry, probably a lot of Liverpool fans are from Brighton, so they saw us now twice in two weeks. They were brilliant, absolutely brilliant again. Today we paid a little bit back, I would say. They saw a goal, they saw chances, so it was better. In the end, one goal is deflected and one is in the 92nd minute, so that's a bad piece of the truth as well. You should not forget that, but we are still out and that's obviously the worst outcome of a game you can have. But from here we can go and we will.