Jurgen Klopp was disappointed but pragmatic as he assessed Liverpool’s performance and the road ahead from the 1-1 draw with Napoli at Anfield.
The Reds headed into Wednesday night’s Champions League clash in fine spirits and on top form, but struggled early on against a rigid, spirited Napoli side.
An early double-blow for Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk, from which only the latter recovered, paved the way for an opener from Dries Mertens, only for Dejan Lovren to equaliser after the break.
But despite a major improvement as the game went on Liverpool were unable to find the winner, and the pressure is now on for the trip to Salzburg on December 10.
Victory at Anfield would have sealed progress to the last 16, but now the Reds should need a result in Austria to keep their defence of the European Cup alive, with this situation—amid a congested festive period—clearly irking Klopp.
“It was clear that we wanted to decide [the group] tonight,” he told reporters after the game.
“It didn’t work out for us tonight, that’s how football is sometimes, you don’t always get the result you want.
“Obviously I struggle when I play against Napoli, sorry about that.
“Last year we went through, this year we have to fight to the end so it’s not really new for us.
He later added: “If we have ambitions in the Champions League, we have to show that in Salzburg.”
The manager also provided an update on Fabinho‘s ankle injury, though there is no clear indication of the severity of this stage, with Klopp simply saying “I do not want to say what I expect, because I hope it’s not that serious.”
Next up for Liverpool is a home clash with Brighton in the Premier League, which should provide them with an opportunity to respond and maintain their lead at the top of the table.