Liverpool failed to finish off a slew of chances and conceded a sloppy goal in a 2-0 loss at Leicester in the English League Cup, arousing the ire of its frustrated manager Jurgen Klopp on Tuesday.
It is becoming a familiar narrative for the Reds in a disappointing month when they haven’t won any of their four matches. Questions are now being asked the team’s efficiency at both ends of the field.
Liverpool over-ran Leicester in a dominant first-half display, with Philippe Coutinho orchestrating the attacks from midfield. But the visitors struggled after the Brazil playmaker was substituted at halftime of the third-round match in a pre-planned move from Klopp.
In another game-changing substitution, Shinji Okazaki came on in the 53rd minute for Leicester, scored 12 minutes later with a deflected shot after Liverpool’s defense was beaten to two headers, and then laid the ball on for Islam Slimani to drive home a stunning second goal at King Power stadium.
“Second ball from a corner and a goal from a throw-in _ I’m sick of goals like this, to be honest. Unbelievable,” Klopp said.
Referring to the first goal, Klopp added: “We didn’t push up together _ I say it one time, I say it a thousand times. It’s not nice to concede these goals.”
Since beating Arsenal 4-0 in the Premier League before the international break, Liverpool has been thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City and drawn 1-1 at home to Burnley in the league, conceded late to draw 2-2 with Sevilla in the Champions League, and has now been eliminated from the League Cup.
Klopp is easing Coutinho back to full match sharpness after the midfielder missed Liverpool’s first six games of the season, officially because of injury and illness, while he was the subject of three transfer bids from Barcelona.
Leicester couldn’t handle Coutinho’s passing and movement in the first half, and only came into the game when he was off the field.
“They’ve got a world-class player in Coutinho,” Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare said. “I was very relieved when he went off.”
Liverpool finished the game having had 21 shots, but only three on target. Against Burnley on Saturday, the Reds only scored once from 35 shots.
Tottenham was among the other Premier League teams to win on a night when top-flight sides mostly fielded fringe players for what is regarded as the inferior cup competition on the English calendar, compared to the FA Cup.
SPURS EDGE THROUGH
In another unconvincing domestic display at its temporary home of Wembley Stadium, Tottenham beat second-tier Barnsley 1-0 thanks to Dele Alli’s close-range goal in the 65th minute.
Tottenham hasn’t won any of its three Premier League games at Wembley this season, but has beaten Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
HODGSON’S FIRST WIN
Crystal Palace scored its first goal since Aug. 22 to earn a 1-0 win over Huddersfield and a first victory under new manager Roy Hodgson. Bakary Sako was the scorer from a corner.
Palace has started the Premier League season with five straight losses and no goals, the first time that has happened in the history of England’s top flight. Hodgson replaced the fired Frank de Boer last week.
Defender Pape Souare came on as a substitute for Palace for his first appearance since breaking his jaw and thigh, and picking up other injuries, in a car crash a year ago.
STOKE, BURNLEY ELIMINATED
Stoke lost 2-0 at Bristol City and Burnley was eliminated on penalties by Leeds after a 2-2 draw, as two second-tier League Championship teams got the better of Premier League sides.
Bristol City also knocked out a Premier League team in Watford in the second round.
Bournemouth, West Ham and Swansea were Premier League teams to advance to Round 4.