Alex Neil struggles to explain Norwich City’s calamitous 5-4 Premier League defeat to Liverpool
16:01 23 January 2016
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Alex Neil was almost left speechless by the manner of Norwich City’s second-half implosion in a 5-4 Premier League defeat to Liverpool.
Adam Lallana hooked home a 95th minute winner in a game City had led 3-1 early in the second period - and just moments after Seb Bassong looked to have salvaged a draw in a remarkable contest. Wes Hoolahan’s 54th minute penalty put the hosts in control but Jordan Henderson reduced the deficit a minute later before Roberto Firmino notched his second and James Milner pounced on a woeful back pass from Russell Martin to set up the dramatic finale.
Firmino had opened the scoring prior to the interval before Dieumerci Mbokani levelled and Steve Naismith rifled a superb debut goal.
“I don’t really know what to say to be honest. I am angry, extremely angry and so should the players be with themselves,” said Neil. “They should feel that and more when you throw a game away. Defensively we made extremely poor decisions and cost ourselves three points. The players were not being asked to do anything differently and we failed to make correct decisions at vital times in the game and it cost us goals. I think you look at it after 65 minutes of the game we get ourselves to a stage where we are 3-2 up and good value for it. I thought we were the better side and from that point onwards you could see we got into a mindset where we had to do something different.
“I think people’s lasting memory of this game now will be what happened in the last 25 minutes, which is a real shame when you consider how well we moved the ball, we looked threatening and we defended relatively comfortably. Then we transpired to be the makers of our own downfall. We looked edgy, nervous at the back, we didn’t keep the ball well enough and basically didn’t defend our box well enough.
“Even when we got it back to 4-4 I didn’t really celebrate because I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing and they go and get a fifth. The problem is when you are standing at the side you have had your main influence at the interval. You are stood there, 3-1 up, and the boys had done great. Then for no apparent reason we made poor decisions.”
Jurgen Klopp labelled his side’s win ‘unbelievable’ after Lallana’s goal sparked wild celebrations in front of the home dugout.
“Unbelievable game. We should always think it is possible, although it was not easy today. We had a lot of problems at the start. There was a bit of searching for confidence but then we played a bit of football and we saw what is possible,” he said. “Set plays, set plays, set plays, and the game changed, the opponent got a bit more confident. When I saw five minutes of overtime I couldn’t understand why.”I think we were the deserved winner in a spectacular game. I think it is a new record but we have to solve our problems because this will not always be possible.
“Of course, we were lucky, but we were not too lucky when they equalised in overtime. It is very emotional. We are in the middle of the chaos and react, sometimes we know what we are doing, sometimes we don’t. The game is enough of a story.”