Jurgen Klopp admitted he is relieved his Liverpool side are only one goal down in their EFL Cup semifinal with Southampton after the 1-0 defeat in the first leg on Wednesday night.
The Reds’ hopes of reaching the final of the League Cup suffered a blow on the south coast, and they could have found themselves even further behind in the tie had it not been for a number of good saves from goalkeeper Loris Karius at St. Mary’s.
Nathan Redmond’s goal in the 20th minute on the back of a Ragnar Klavan mistake gave the Saints a slender advantage at half-time.
When asked by Sky Sports postmatch if he had a sense of relief that Liverpool only had to overcome a one-goal deficit in the second leg at Anfield on Jan. 25, Klopp replied: “Yeah, of course we think like this.
“In this moment, I know about this. I’m not too happy with the performance, especially after 1-0.
“We should have been more clearer in our passing. It’s difficult — they had a really deep formation. It’s difficult but we should have done better.
“For tonight, it’s a deserved result but everything is possible for us and that’s OK.”
He added: “After the goal we conceded, the reaction was not good. We lost timing and were not compact enough. Everything changed and that reaction was not good.
“It’s maybe easy to explain, it’s only because we made the wrong decisions. That’s how it is.
“We let them come in the game and it was an open. Open games are difficult and they had the biggest chances because we were not compact enough in different situations and Loris had to save our life a few times.
“It’s a deserved win for Southampton but [it is] only half-time, so all good.”
The only positive on the night for Klopp and Liverpool was the return of Philippe Coutinho, who had been out injured since November with ankle ligament damage.
The Brazilian replaced Georginio Wijnaldum just after the hour mark at Southampton and will be hoping to prove his fitness to Klopp ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United.
“It’s good to have him back,” the Reds boss said. “You could see immediately in a few moments that how important he is for each team in the world, for us especially. That’s good.”