Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool's performance vs Derby was not perfect, we could have been a lot better

Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool's performance vs Derby was not perfect, we could have been a lot better

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp insisted that his side could still have been "a lot" better and declared their performance was not "perfect" although they brushed their Championship opponents aside to ease into the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp felt that his side could have been "a lot" better despite praising the professionalism of his Liverpool side's 3-0 win away at Derby County in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.

Ragnar Klavan, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi all found the back of the net to ensure the Reds' progression to the next round of the competition with ease at the iPro Stadium.

But despite comfortably dominating the Championship outfit, and giving away no real chances to Nigel Pearson's men, Klopp felt that his side could still have been better.

Summarising the visitors' performance, the German insisted Liverpool "were better and deserved to win" as well as saying that they "created chances."

"Could we have done better? Yes, a lot. Is it important tongith? No, because that's what you want to have," he continued, insisting that his team had to be "100 per cent professional" and "really serious" to "take games like these like they are."

He was delighted that Liverpool's performance meant the game "wasn't difficult" when it could have been despite the Rams' form, adding: "The opponent was ready for each opportunity but we didn't give them [any]. So it was good."

Klopp insisted that his team "could have been a little bit better in the last pass" in the first-half and that they "could have been better in the counter-attack" in the second 45 which, he believes, "would have changed the result a little bit."

But he declared himself satisfied that Liverpool "scored the goals" and they come away with such a commanding victory, insisting that it demonstrated how seriously they are treating the competition.

He told journalists that it is "a very important tournament" for the club, for him as a manager, the players and the club as a whole  as he explained: "If it is like this, you have to show it from the first second. Why should I go and make some magic things in a meeting that they [then] think it's an important tournament? It is, and so let's go for it."

Klopp pleased with Reds' display - but says they should target further improvement 

The comfortable victory meant that Liverpool have now recorded six wins from their last seven away games in all competitions, adding to an equally-as-impressive 2-1 win over Chelsea on Friday night.

Informed about that statistic by one reporter, Klopp insisted the most "pleasing thing" was that he doesn't "feel anything" and insisted that his team aren't "surprised" by that feat.

"We had the games, we played them, we are professionals," he insisted, declaring that his side mustn't get carried away by celebrating their away form as he also said that there should not be "that big" a difference between playing at home or away. 

Klopp said that, "especially", with should be the case a good side - which he insists Liverpool have - but acknowledged that it was "difficult" for his side and he didn't "want to underestimate it and say it's normal." 

Despite suggesting that Derby posed a tough test, Klopp used the game as an opportunity to hand appearances to a number of younger players.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius made his debut, while Marko Grujic was handed his first start and Danny Ings enjoyed his first minutes of the campaign off the bench.

But the headline-making debut was that of Academy youngster Ovie Ejaria. The 18-year-old, who enjoyed an excellent pre-season, was brought on for Roberto Firmino to make his first senior appearance for the club.

Klopp insisted that "there was no doubt" that "the first time would come" for players like Ejaria, calling it "good" and "nice" for the midfielder to make his first appearance and Ings' half-an-hour cameo "really good."

The Reds boss also felt that it was "really important" for Origi, who fired high into the roof of the net at the near post to make it 3-0, to get 90 minutes and adding that they didn't simply play their team to "give them match time" but rather "because they were rested and could go full."

"That was more the reason - more than saying 'okay, come on, you can go for it [and play]'," added Klopp, who insisted that goalscorer Klavan was "completely fresh" and so they only needed to "make the decision" as to who should pair him.

He said that once again the performance of Joel Matip and Klavan was "good" because "it was the first game for them together", adding: "A lot of things were really good, but it was not the perfect game. We wanted to do a few things and I saw a few of them. Some things I didn't see."

However, Klopp was reluctant to be overly critical of his team, insisting that's "how it is" and they are "on a good way still" with this another "professional performance."

"All good - not more, but not less," he insisted, reiterating that it was good to see Ings back on the pitch after appearing just once - off of the bench on the final league game of last season - under Klopp's management following a lengthy injury lay-off.

The manager acknowledged what was "a difficult time" for the striker, who is "on a really good way" which he is "pretty sure" that "everybody can see", explaining that they will "see what will happen" as Ings gets fitter but reiterating that is "still an important player."