Jurgen Klopp acknowledged competing in both Europe and the Premier League could have caught up to Liverpool at Fulham, but he refused to use it as an excuse.
The manager rotated heavily in midweek for their Champions League dead-rubber but his side looked jaded and off the pace for much of their 1-1 draw at Fulham on Sunday.
It was a performance which lacked authority and creativity as Bobby Decordova-Reid struck first in what was a diabolical opening half before Mohamed Salah salvaged a point from the penalty spot.
Cameras caught Klopp gesticulating wildly and shouting at his team to wake up as the Cottagers ran rings around his men and he was pleased the Reds did “fight against” the sluggishness.
When pressed on the reasons for the lethargic start, Klopp nodded to the results of those who also competed in Europe during the week, where none had won over the weekend – Arsenal pending.
“We didn’t play well, if they had to wake up I don’t know. I cannot write a book and throw it on the pitch and tell them to read it,” Klopp told Sky Sports post-match.
“What I wanted is that we just shake ourselves and start the game new – a good start to the game is nice but when we don’t have a good start we can start again, and start again and again.
“We needed half-an-hour, pretty much, to get our feel in the game so that’s why I shouted a bit at them. After half-an-hour it was already better, not good but better.
“Second half was good. We knew with the momentum on Fulham‘s side, the crowd here, fighting for every result, lucky in one or two situations let me say it like this.
“Hendo’s chance was a big one, a really big one and Curtis was sensational, his run, really good finish, good save – could have had more but we scored a goal.
“The first 30 minutes was just not good, we could’ve lost the game in that period but we didn’t because the next 60 were very good.
“We are human beings and things like this can happen, should not but can,” he continued on the slow start.
“When you look at the results, all the teams who played Champions League or European league during the week had a tough one this week in all leagues. It’s crazy.
“Just after all the games, maybe it was the night, or the day or the weekend where we all felt it a little bit.
“But then you have to fight against it and that’s what the boys did so I’m fine with that. But, of course, how I said in the first-half we could have lost it and in the next 60 we could have won it.
“But we got a point.”
The Reds now have a three-day turnaround until they meet Tottenham at Anfield in a top of the table clash.