Jurgen Klopp accepted Liverpool can have no complaints with their defeat to Leicester City and warned his players to learn from their below-par performance.
The Reds lost 1-0 at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday as they failed to close the six-point gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool, beaten for just the second time in 28 games in all competitions this term, saw Mohamed Salah miss a penalty and Sadio Mane waste a big chance of his own at 0-0.
Former Everton player Ademola Lookman’s strike three minutes after being brought off the bench proved the difference as Leicester made it successive league wins against Liverpool.
Klopp’s side finished with an expected goals (xG) return of 2.3, compared to 0.6 for Leicester, who scored from their only attempt on target.
Yet Klopp conceded his side were lacking in too many departments to consider themselves hard done by in their final match of 2021.
“It was well deserved [for Leicester],” he told Amazon Prime. “It was a very strange game. We were just not good enough, even if we did still have enough chances.
“What we did with the balls was just not right. We played a really bad game, so it was well deserved.
“Our decision-making [was poor], maybe a little bit of luck was missing. That’s how it is. We should have had more of those moments.
“I think we started okay, then we completely lost our rhythm and didn’t get it back. From then we forced it, so there’s nothing else to say.
“The circumstances too – Leicester played two days ago, they deserve it, absolutely.
“They had one shot on target. They didn’t have plenty of chances. We should have defended better. We do that usually, why we didn’t do it today is hard to explain.
“There were so many performances below normal level, there’s no explanation.”
It is the first time since 2016 that Liverpool have lost a league game in the month of December, ending a run of 35 such fixtures without defeat, 27 of which had been victories.
The Reds trail City by six points with 19 games of the season played and are level with Chelsea, who they face in their next match on Sunday.
“It’s a big gap [to City]. In this moment it is not my problem,” Klopp added. “If we play our normal football, Liverpool football, we have the chance to win more football games.
“A defeat is a defeat. We have to learn, and we will. The first thing is not to do it ever again like this. We lost our rhythm and weren’t calm enough to get it back. That’s our fault.”
Salah’s penalty miss ended a streak of 15 successful spot-kicks in the Premier League for the forward, with Kasper Schmeichel making a further three saves to thwart Liverpool.
Klopp’s men had found the net in their previous 34 matches in all competitions, and defender Virgil van Dijk agreed that his side were not good enough on the day.
“I think they deserved the win but that was obviously also down to us,” the Netherlands international told Amazon Prime.
“I think we were poor in the last third. A lot of crosses they defended well. Overall, it was not a good performance.
“They didn’t create much but looked dangerous on the break, which they are good at. Credit to them. We have to look at ourselves and improve, which we will do.
“It’s part of football. We will keep trying until the very end. We created good chances but unfortunately today wasn’t the day it went in the back of the net.
“What can we say? We’re in December. The season is so, so long. Anything can happen. You have seen it with COVID and injuries – lots of things can change.
“There’s no point looking at [Manchester City] or Chelsea or the other teams around us. We should look at our performance today and improve.
“We all wanted to do better. That’s a fact. We weren’t good enough and they deserved the win.”
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