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'We can't imagine the title race at the moment' - Klopp takes blame as Liverpool slump continues


Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration on the touchline (Peter Powell/PA)

Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration on the touchline (Peter Powell/PA)

Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration on the touchline (Peter Powell/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he would take the blame for his side's increasingly alarming slump, as Burnley ended the Premier League champions long unbeaten run at Anfield with a stunning 1-0 win.

Ashley Barnes’ 83rd-minute penalty – his 100th senior career club goal – inflicted the first league loss on home soil for Jurgen Klopp’s side since Crystal Palace in April 2017, after a run of 68 matches undefeated.

The defending champions were again made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge – having left the out-of-form Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench for an hour – and it is now seven hours and 18 minutes since they last found the net in the Premier League.

It was a famous victory for Burnley, whose last win on this ground came in September 1974 courtesy of Ian Brennan’s goal.

"We lost the game which is pretty impossible but we did it. That is my fault," accepted Klopp. "It is my job to make sure the boys have the right feelings and confidence. That didn't work out.

"We had the ball a lot and created some situations that are OK but our final decision is not right. I said the same thing last week. When something doesn't work you must try harder, longer and more often and make better decisions. It didn't work tonight.

"It is always my fault. If I make clear which movements make sense because it will hurt the opponent and we don't do that then I need to make it clearer. It is not that they don't want.

"It is difficult to play against these low blocks. It helps if you score the first goal but we didn't. That changes the opponent. After not scoring for a long time not everybody feels confident.

"Everything, all the English words, massive, massive punch in the face or whatever, it's my responsibility, that's the easy explanation. 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.

"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, 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.

"It's not about blaming, we have to sort it together and we will. In football you don't have a lot of time. We tried a lot, in some moments the right things and some not. That's the problem You have to break the wall down by trying, in the right mood. We had chances."

When asked whether his side were slipping out of contention to retain the Premier League trophy he responded: "We can't imagine the title race at the moment."

This is the first time a Klopp side has gone four league games without scoring since his Mainz side did so in the Bundesliga from November to December 2006.

"I never thought of us as free scoring," he added. "I knew we had to work hard. It is not the first time or last time it will happen in football. We can only use this game for the next one. It is not because the players do not have the ability Our decision making is the problem. If we score in our big moments it changes things but we did not."

If Klopp tried to find explanations for his side's defeat, former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness was more clinical as he suggested this is now a full-blown crisis for Klopp and his players.

"Jurgen has some hard thinking to do. Some of those players look like they are shot. There is no sparkle about them," he told Sky Sports.

"This will be a real test for these players. Jurgen will now find out what he has in the dressing room. This has been coming, Liverpool have been a shadow of the team we’ve seen for the best part of three years. There wasn’t any sparkle tonight.

"They were flat when they got the ball into the final third and when the time came to deliver, delivery was poor time and time again. They lacked quality all the way through.

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"There is so much expectation on their shadows because of what they have done in the last couple of seasons - European champions, Premier League champions.

"The expectation levels are there and on their shoulders. It was at the start of the season and they have not dealt with it very well.

"That's what makes you a special team. It's hard enough to win it. But to retain it and stay there, year in and year out, that's what makes you a special team and right now this Liverpool team are not up for that challenge."

Online Editors