Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius: 'first-half performance cost us'
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Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius: 'first-half performance cost us'

Loris Karius believes the Reds first-half performance against their bitter rivals Manchester United was crucial as Liverpool errors proved the difference as they were beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday

Joshua Kerr

Loris Karius highlighted Liverpool's first-half performance as the predominant factor behind their 2-1 loss to Manchester United on Saturday that left them five points adrift of their bitter rivals as the Red Devils look to run-away with second place.

Jürgen Klopp's team were punished twice from youngster Marcus Rashford after him and Romelu Lukaku totally bullied a Liverpool back-four that were fortunate to go in at half-time only two down as a Juan Mata's overhead kick flew past the post to leave the Reds totally bewildered by Jose Mourinho's tactics in a desperate first-half for the Reds.

Eric Bailly's 66th-minute own goal provided hope for Klopp's side, however, the Reds had ultimately left themselves too much to do in the second half as they suffered only their fourth Premier League loss of the season.

The result left Liverpool five points behind United and Tottenham's 4-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday meant that the Lillywhites leapfrogged Klopp's side leaving them in fourth place.

First-half performance 'frustrating'

Reflecting on their defeat Karius spoke and said: "In the second half we did well but the first half, of course, was not really good so it’s frustrating in the end, because you ask yourself why we didn’t play as good [as we did in the] second half after the game. 

"That’s our own fault, we have to ask ourselves that question. It’s not easy to get something here if you only play good for one half so, of course, it’s disappointing. 

"At the end, we could still get a point but the first half wasn’t really good from us. We didn’t defend the counter-attack so good when they had their moments."

The German went on to add: "They didn’t have a lot of moments but when they did they were really dangerous so we could have done better as a team. It’s difficult to say after a game what exactly what it was but as a team, we could have done better and defended the situations better. 

"Of course, you can say the first goal was a really good finish and the second one gets deflected twice, but before that, you have to clear the ball," the 'keeper said.

"At half-time, we spoke about it and we tried everything in the second half but it’s difficult to score twice here when you are 2-0 down. We did everything we could and could have scored, but it’s disappointing."

"We have to respond"

The German goalkeeper has said that his team will learn from their mistakes at Old Trafford on Saturday and believes their work at Melwood this week will set themselves up perfectly for their next league clash against Watford on Saturday.

With Chelsea hosting Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Liverpool's clash with the Hornets becomes all the more important with two of the Reds top-four rivals potentially losing points as the race for Champions League positions reach the penultimate point of the season.

"We always look at the games after it," he added.

"If we win the game we look at it and what we can do better and if we lose we look at what we can do better.

"So, we will analyse it and see what we could do better first half, look at the second half as well and see what we could do better - positives and negatives - and take it into the next game."

Karius continued: "Next week is a very important game, we are at home where we want to respond and we have to respond. 

"Now we go home and look at what we can do better and we start next week and focus on the next big game."