Jurgen Klopp admitted the end of Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield was a “massive punch in the face” as the Premier League champions crashed to a shock 1-0 defeat against Burnley on Thursday.
Klopp’s side were beaten in a home league game for the first time since Crystal Palace won at Anfield in April 2017.
Ashley Barnes clinched Burnley’s first win at Liverpool since 1974 when he converted an 83rd-minute penalty after being fouled by Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
“It’s a massive, massive punch in the face,” Klopp said. “We had the ball a lot, created some and didn’t finish the situations off.
“That keeps the game open and then they get the penalty. Alisson told me he didn’t touch him, but I didn’t see it back. We lost a game which I think it’s actually impossible to lose. But we did it.”
Spluttering Liverpool have slipped to fourth place after a second defeat in their last three league games and trail leaders Manchester United by six points.
They have gone five league games without a win and it is seven hours and 18 minutes since they last found the net in the league.
The Reds have gone four league games without scoring for the first time since May 2000, failing with 87 shots since Sadio Mane’s 12th-minute strike against West Brom.
‘It’s a tough one’
Liverpool’s goal drought prompted Klopp to leave Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench for an hour, but even the eventual introduction of the two star forwards couldn’t spark a strong finish.
“It’s a tough one, not easy to explain. We worked tonight hard and it didn’t happen. It’s my responsibility, that’s the easy explanation,” Klopp said.
“It’s wrong decisions in the moment, three crosses in the box, we tried to find a player but didn’t. It’s my job to make sure the boys are in the right position, that they feel right. If something doesn’t work you have to try harder, more often, longer. It was not easy to lose that game and we did it.”
Liverpool would drop out of the Champions League qualification places if Tottenham at least draw their game in hand or if Everton win one of their two extra matches.
After winning their first English title for 30 years last season, Liverpool are in danger of surrendering the crown unless they improve soon.
Klopp conceded they could not think about finishing on top of the table given their current struggles. “We can’t imagine the title race at the moment,” he said.
Backing his team to eventually resolve their problems, Klopp added: “It’s not about blaming, we have to sort it together and we will.
“In football you don’t have a lot of time. In the final moment, obviously our decision-making is not right at the moment, that’s the problem. I have to make it clearer. How you come in behind their last line, these kind of things. That’s the job we have to do.”
Klopp’s frustration with Liverpool’s travails appeared to boil over in a half-time row with Burnley boss Sean Dyche.
“I didn’t start it but all good. If he’s not talking about it, I won’t talk about it,” Klopp said of the dispute.
Dyche refused to apologise for letting his emotions run high.
“We come to these places, we are allowed to fight, we are allowed to try and win. That’s all it was. It’s just two managers fighting for their teams, wanting to win a game. There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.
Burnley also drew at Liverpool last year and, on the secret of their success, Dyche said: “Doing the basics very well, structure of the side, shape of the side, individual diligence. You still need a bit of luck. They had a couple of chances where Pope’s had to make a good save.”