Gary McAllister admits Liverpool felt a degree of “relief” after edging past Carlisle United in the Capital One Cup, but the first-team coach remains certain that performances will improve as the season progresses.
The Reds needed a penalty shootout to see off their League Two opponents, who defended doggedly despite the hosts laying siege to their goal after Danny Ings’ opener was cancelled out by Derek Asamoah in the first half.
The visiting fans will have hoped for a dream result when the game went to spot-kicks after a goalless period of extra-time at Anfield, but Adam Bogdan saved three penalties to send the hosts into the fourth round.
And although McAllister was pleased to see the team eventually progress, he underlined the importance of building on a positive result by putting in performances to match in the future.
“We’re delighted with the result,” he told reporters in the postgame press conference. “There were big sighs of relief in that dressing room, and the players are extremely happy. Of course, we’d have liked to have won the game within 90 minutes in normal time.
“I thought we started the game well, passed it well and had a wee bit of rhythm to our play, but I thought then losing Roberto Firmino set us back a touch.
“Again, there were flashes, but we’re not up to the speed we’re looking at or the passing game we’re striving to perform.
The Scot also offered an update on the fitness of both Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren, who were both forced off due to injury during the tie.
“(Lovren)’s landed awkwardly. It didn’t look too good, as he was stretchered off but fingers crossed I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked,” McAllister explained. “(Firmino), like Dejan, landed badly. It was just a ball he went up for and he’s landed on the base of his spine, just on his lower back. It’s an awkward landing but he seems fine as well.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@MirrorFootball