Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool ‘were not ready’ for first half after win at Wolves

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool ‘were not ready’ for first half after win at Wolves

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s first-half struggles left him questioning his side – before the Reds hit back to win at Wolves.

Andrew Robertson’s late strike and Hugo Bueno’s injury-time own goal completed Liverpool’s 3-1 victory at Molineux.

Cody Gakpo had levelled earlier in the second half as Liverpool earned a third comeback victory of the season and fourth straight win. They are now unbeaten in 16 Premier League games, stretching back to last season.

Hwang Hee-Chan’s opener had put vibrant Wolves in command and only a shocking miss from Matheus Cunha stopped them from adding to their lead.

Klopp had criticised the early kick-off after the international break – with Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Alisson and Alexis Mac Allister all returning from South America on Friday – and conceded he was worried during a wretched first half.

He said: “In the first half I thought ‘WTF?’ a couple of times. We were not ready in the first half but Wolves did really well.

“With these boys, some of them we’ve had seven, eight, nine weeks with, some of them longer, I know if they can be, they are there. Today they couldn’t in a lot of moments.

“I know if you get through the first half with a reasonable result, you can turn it.

“The team needed help and we could deliver the help a little bit with the changes and change of system. They were completely different halves.

“The same players who looked rusty in the first half, in the second half it looked much easier.

“Wolves played a super first half but in the second half we were really good and controlled the game.

Andrew Robertson put Liverpool ahead late on at Molineux
Andrew Robertson put Liverpool ahead late on at Molineux (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“We stayed calm, there was no rush, 3-1 was a result I didn’t expect after 20 minutes but during the second half we deserved it.”

Wolves dominated early and Hwang grabbed a seventh-minute goal when he swept in Pedro Neto’s low cross.

Livewire Neto caused chaos and he gift-wrapped a chance for Cunha after 33 minutes when he breezed past Joe Gomez to cross for the striker to miscue an unmarked header from five yards.

It kept Liverpool in the game and, after introducing Luis Diaz at the break, the visitors levelled 10 minutes later.

Harvey Elliott celebrates after seeing his shot deflect in
Harvey Elliott (centre) celebrates after seeing his shot deflect in (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Gakpo and Diaz managed to smuggle the ball to Salah on the right and his low ball was turned in by the unmarked Gakpo.

Wolves lost all their first-half fearlessness, failing to create another chance, but it took until the 86th minute for Liverpool to capitalise.

Jose Sa’s poor clearance fell for Robertson just inside Wolves’ half. The defender burst forward to swap passes with Salah and finish from seven yards.

Harvey Elliott’s 20-yard strike then deflected off Bueno in stoppage time to seal victory.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil said: “If you look at the two sides, the gap in quality, it takes a big effort to close that.

“I thought we did for a very long time. The organisation and structure managed to help us bridge that gap.

“When we were on top we could have taken one or two of our good situations.

“We were digging in and then we make a strange decision, create a bit of chaos and concede the second goal.

“At 1-1 they’ve had a lot of the ball but we made a strange decision and it cost us a goal. Up until 80 minutes to have pushed Liverpool that close was a very good effort.

“We conceded a crazy second goal which is what I’ve been trying to get out of the players since I’ve been here.”