Liverpool’s poor start to the season continued on Wednesday night with an embarrassing penalty shootout defeat to Northampton Town at Anfield in the Carling Cup.
A lacklustre Reds side drew 2-2 after extra-time with the League Two outfit, before losing 4-2 on spot-kicks in what will go down as one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history.
Northampton lie 69 places below Liverpool in the league table and were massive outsiders before the match. Sitting 17th in League Two, prior to their trip to Anfield the Cobblers had lost 3-1 at Shrewsbury Town.
Nevertheless, as we have come to learn over the years, league form counts for nothing in such games and in front of a half empty stadium (attendance 22,577) Northampton’s application and commitment to the cause stunned a subdued Liverpool side.
Reds boss Roy Hodgson put out an undeniably weakened team for the game, with the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard nowhere to be seen.
But the starting XI still contained six full internationals and millions of pounds worth of talent, £11.5 million pound signing Ryan Babel to name but one.
And Hodgson could not hide his disappointment after the cup upset, accusing the players of letting him down on the night.
"I didn't think we came anywhere near what I hoped to see from this team. When it goes to a penalty shootout in front of the Kop, you would hope your players have the composure and confidence to win it.
"However, you have to give credit to Northampton. They have stolen nothing, but I am bitterly disappointed that a team in which I had so much faith did not repay that faith."
Despite his dissatisfaction Hodgson, whose side currently lie 16th in the Premier League with just five points from five games, called on his team to bounce back and prove they are worthy of wearing the Liverpool shirt.
"I have lost a UEFA Cup final on penalties, there is no worse way to lose any game and I know what damage they can do to those who miss," said the former Fulham boss. "If they are going to be Liverpool players, they will have to recover."
Hodgson did not hide from the disastrous result however, and could offer fans little consolation after a dark night for the club.
"There is nothing I can say to the fans. We have been knocked out of the Carling Cup by a side several divisions below us."
By Jonathan Fadugbacomments