A drab first half at Molineux briefly came to life as Raul Jimenez pounced on a mistake to open the scoring, but the Reds clearly received a strong talking-to at half-time from the boss.
Despite a rather more up-tempo second 45, the Reds created very little and Divock Origi‘s smashed equaliser was quickly rendered irrelevant by Ruben Neves’ even more impressive long-range drive.
The mix of backup seniors and youth prospects on the pitch meant a naturally disjointed performance was on show, but the exit will still be a disappointment to those who fancied a run deep into the competition—including said backups.
Klopp told reporters in his post-match press conference that Lovren’s injury came as a surprise.
“I asked everybody – no signs, nothing, out of the blue. That’s the decision you have to make.
“If from beginning it is Fabinho and Ki-Jana then probably a few smart people would tell me that I don’t respect the competition or whatever.”
The boss elaborated and said he had no idea of how long Lovren might be sidelined—but was impressed by Hoever’s debut.
“We tried to do all the things [we could]. Of course, on the other hand it doesn’t make sense to bring in a 16-year-old boy from the start.
“You don’t bring him, you wait until he is completely ready, but he did well. He came on and did well.
“That’s how it sometimes starts – when you are really needed then it is only about if you are good enough and not how old you are.
“He did well, so that was all OK. That’s it.”
Hoever’s performance was a rare bright spot on a poor night, however, and Klopp will hope his squad can now regain form and focus upon the return to Premier League action.