Andy Robertson admitted that things had gone from bad to worse for Liverpool since the turn of the year with their FA Cup defeat at Brighton on Sunday the latest setback. The captain said Liverpool had problems at both ends of the pitch as they lost for the third time in 2023 – with Jürgen Klopp, the manager, bemoaning the negative body language of some of his players.
The performance was better than in the 3-0 defeat at Brighton two weeks previously but it was still not good enough, the winger Kaoru Mitoma popping up in stoppage-time to score a stunning winner. Liverpool, the FA Cup holders, are out of both domestic cups and lag ninth in the league. They face Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
“It’s bitterly disappointing,” Robertson said. “We need to start winning games but it’s easy to say and harder to fix. This season has been nowhere near good enough. We wanted a new start at the turn of the year; if anything we’ve been worse.
“You can’t put your finger on one thing that’s gone wrong, it’s more than that. You can tell we’re not confident in front of goal; we’re still a bit open defensively. We need to get our confidence back. I feel sorry for the fans. They were unbelievable today and we’ve let them down again.”
Klopp was unhappy that both of the Brighton goals followed set-piece deliveries. “It doesn’t feel great, obviously, but we have to take it,” he said. “There were steps in the right direction. But we have to improve … body language, a couple of boys have to do much better.”
On Robertson’s comments, Klopp said: “It’s not 100% true but it’s not 100% wrong. You want a new start when you come back after the World Cup break, you want to go for it. And so far it didn’t happen properly.
“The body language wasn’t OK. The next time it has to be better. I’m not over the moon with this performance, but the only thing that happened really was we lost against a good side who we lost to two weeks ago in a horrendous game and today was much better. There is no other way than to fight through.”