Goalkeeper Loris Karius single-handedly kept Liverpool in their EFL Cup semi-final tie with Southampton, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted.
Liverpool lost the first leg against Saints at St Mary’s by a single goal on Wednesday as Nathan Redmond scored for the home side after 20 minutes.
Klopp’s side were mediocre at best for much of the 90 minutes and Redmond could easily have put the tie out of reach ahead of the second leg at Anfield in a fortnight.
It was 23-year-old stopper Karius that emerged as Liverpool’s unlikely hero on the evening, denying Redmond from three clear-cut chances to add to his tally amid a flurry of impressive stops as the home side created all the best opportunities.
Karius has been a figure of ridicule at times during his first season in English football but his manager was in no uncertain terms about the role he played in maintaining Liverpool’s hopes of going to Wembley next month to face Manchester United or Hull City.
“After the goal we conceded our reaction was not good,” Klopp said. “We were not compact enough. Loris Karius had to save our life.
It’s a deserved win for Southampton but it’s only half-time in the tie.” The German felt that his side were too open in the face of pressure from their hosts but he is content that Liverpool have every chance to repair the damage when they take Southampton back to Anfield for the second leg.
“It was open and open games are difficult. Loris had to save us a few times. It’s only half-time so all good,” Klopp added.
“We should have been clearer in our passing. Everything is [still] possible for us so it’s okay.”
After the first leg, Liverpool are 3.40 to win the EFL Cup, while Southampton are 5.50.