LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his team’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley on Thursday was a “massive punch in the face” and took responsibility for the champions’ dramatic slump in form.
The Reds have not won in five Premier League matches, have failed to score in the last four games and have fallen six points behind leaders Manchester United.
“Everything, all the English words, massive, massive punch in the face or whatever – it’s my responsibility, that’s the easy explanation,” Klopp said after Ashley Barnes’ second-half penalty ended his team’s 68-match unbeaten league home record.
The German refused to discuss the result’s impact on his fourth place team’s title chances.
“How silly would that be if I sit here now, losing against Burnley, didn’t score for the last three or four games – I don’t know exactly – and now I talk about the title race? How silly would that be?
“It’s just we have to win football games – it was always like this. For this we have to score goals, there is no doubt about it. That’s what we have to change and have to do better,” he said.
Klopp acknowledged that his team’s problems are at the top end of the field where one of the most prolific and thrilling strike forces in Europe has suddenly dried up.
“It’s wrong decisions in the moment. Three crosses in the box, we tried to find a player, didn’t. It’s my job to make sure the boys are in the right position, that they feel right,” he added.
Liverpool’s poor form followed a 7-0 win at Crystal Palace on Dec. 19 but Klopp said there was no link between that win and what followed.
“It’s a tough one, not easy to explain. These boys are not the kind of person after a 7-0 to think we’ll go like this, they worked tonight hard and it didn’t happen.
“It was not easy to lose that game and we did it. It’s not about blaming, we have to sort it together and we will. In football you don’t have a lot of time,” he added.
Liverpool dominated possession but struggled to break down Burnley’s superbly organised defence and Klopp conceded his players were struggling for belief.
“The confidence is not on the highest level, I think that is so obvious that I don’t have to mention it – you can see it in specific moments,” he said.
“It is like 90% of all what the boys did all of the time is still there, but the decisive 10% in the moment is missing. So, now we have to work on this decisive 10%. That’s how it is – we always work on them, but now we have to dig a little bit deeper to get them back.”