Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s players understand why they didn’t beat Southampton – and proved it with a better showing against Bournemouth.
The 1-0 Capital One Cup win at Anfield on Wednesday night was a first for the German in four matches since he took over from Brendan Rodgers.
It was only their second win achieved in 90 minutes since mid-August – coincidentally when Bournemouth were the visitors in the Premier League – and prevented a club record-equalling sixth successive draw.
After they conceded a late lead to draw at home to Southampton on Sunday, Klopp had suggested confidence was so low among the squad they had virtually forgotten how to win.
It was a different story, however, against Bournemouth, albeit with a much-changed side.
“I saw in the eyes of all the players they wanted to win. I think the players understood better how to win. They want to do what I say,” Klopp said.
“We had two meetings after Southampton and we understood why we had drawn and (against Bournemouth) we were the better team with a completely new team.
“I am nearly surprised why it is so good in this moment because normally when a new player comes in at the time of for pre-season you lose some quality because they have to change other things in their game.
“That is the same with my team now (having to change methods from Rodgers) but it was really good because these young players don’t think too much and that is important.
“The think about football and not pressure and I think they know why they won.”
Whether the decision to hand academy graduates Cameron Brannagan, Joao Teixeira and Connor Randall their first starts – in the latter’s case his debut – made a difference is difficult to assess, but there was certainly less anxiety within Anfield despite having to hold a slender lead for 73 minutes.
Randall’s first-team debut was the culmination of 14 years’ hard work having joined Liverpool’s academy as a six year old.
“That was a dream come true for me,” he said.
“To get the opportunity to play at Anfield in front of a packed crowd is something I’ve wanted ever since I was a little kid.
“That’s what I’ve been working towards ever since I started off.
“I’ve been going to the academy since I was six and ever since that first day the ultimate goal has been to play for the first team.
“The manager gave me a lot of confidence. He told me that I deserved the chance and to make sure I went out there and enjoyed it, and not to think too much about it and to do what I do.
“The manager has shown lot of faith in us and gives us confidence and everyone is very grateful for the opportunities he has given us so far and hopefully we can keep impressing.”
Discuss this on the new-look Liverpool Your Say forum.