Jurgen Klopp refused to use our inexperienced lineup as an excuse for Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat away to Swansea City in the Premier League this afternoon.
The youngest Reds team in Premier League history took to the field at the Liberty Stadium as several were rested ahead of Thursday’s Europa League final semi-final second leg with Villarreal at Anfield.
Klopp insisted afterwards that the starting XI selected was capable of winning the game if they “played a normal game”, but admitted that we “deserved to lose”.
“We changed the line-up and with this line-up we can play much better football. We could explain a few things and it would sound like an excuse,” he is quoted by The Express as saying.
“This performance was not enough. We cannot be sure but if we don’t concede the third one it’s an open game. You can see there was not the body language you need for a comeback, though.
“We deserved to lose, they deserved to win, that’s how football is on a bad day.
“I thought we lost a lot of easy balls, we weren’t compact, there were a lot of things we could’ve done better. If we’d played a normal game, we could have won.”
Of course, Klopp has to say that, and a similar side did win at Bournemouth last month, but there is no doubt that the weakened lineup contributed to the result.
Our youthfulness was particularly telling in midfield, where 22-year-old Kevin Stewart and 18-year-old full debutant Pedro Chirivella struggled during the first half.
We were 2-0 behind inside 33 minutes. Andre Ayew exposed our set-piece defending flaws for a headed opener, before Jack Cork produced this excellent curling strike.
Fortunately Swansea are just as bad at dealing with dead-ball situations as we are, and that allowed substitute Christian Benteke to stoop for our 65th-minute response.
— Anything Liverpool ↩ (@Anything_LFC) May 1, 2016
But we could got get anything going because Ayew quickly restored Swansea’s two-goal advantage. We had seven bodies in the box and somehow the Ghanian squeezed a shot home.
Brad Smith was harshly sent off for two bookings late on. His second yellow card was for a high foot against Kyle Naughton when the Swansea man was just as equally culpable.
This result confirmed that we can no longer qualify for the Champions League through our league position, but the selection gamble will be worthwhile if we overcome Villarreal.