An apologetic Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has admitted their Carling Cup exit to Northampton is another setback in an up-and-down season so far.
The npower League Two side, the lowest-placed club in the competition, recovered from Milan Jovanovic's ninth-minute goal to lead 2-1 with goals from Billy McKay and Michael Jacobs with just four minutes of extra-time remaining. David Ngog nicked a headed equaliser but the Cobblers prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out.
"All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologise to everyone," he said. "We wanted to do well in the Carling Cup and we haven't done."
He added: "We were given a kind draw against a team three leagues below us, were expected to win and when you don't you can expect to be criticised from the top downwards.
"It is a major setback for the club. The Carling Cup is a competition we are capable of doing well in and we were playing lower league opponents.
"Whatever happens, if it doesn't result in a victory it is a very negative thing and a setback for the club, one of many we are facing at the moment."
Hodgson accepted some responsibility for completely changing his side from the one which lost at Manchester United on Sunday. However, he did not absolve the players from blame as, even with their weakened line-up, they should have had enough to see off League Two opposition.
The 62-year-old added: "These players have to accept responsibility. I accept responsibility for changing a lot of players in the team, I did it because I honestly thought the players I put on the field were good enough to win the game and they weren't.
"The obvious conclusion to that was I shouldn't have changed that many players but we should have been strong enough to get a result.
"We must all take our responsibility. I am just bitterly disappointed that the team I had so much faith in did not repay that faith here with the exception of one or two performances."
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