Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his players not to view the defeat to Manchester City as a “catastrophe” as he believes some of the football they played would have served them well in this inconsistent season.
The lopsided look of a 4-1 scoreline was due to two uncharacteristic errors by goalkeeper Alisson Becker but Klopp was keen to take the positives from a performance which left them 10 points behind the leaders with their Premier League title defence seemingly in tatters.
Liverpool’s players trained on Monday but have been given Tuesday off and Klopp will send them home having extolled the virtues of what they did well against City and told them not to dwell on the result.
“We have training, we have recovery and all that stuff. Tuesday will be off. I prefer that [Monday] we speak again about it in the right manner, that we have the day off then with the right mindset,” said the Reds boss.
“I don’t like it too much but it happened from time to time, if you are then at home we all think our own stuff, we think, ‘oh my God, it’s a catastrophe’.
“There are worse things in the world than losing a football game. For us, it is very important, no doubt about that.
“But I want them to understand and to know the football we played in long periods of the game, if we would have played this football more often then we would have more points.”
Klopp’s immediate concern now must be to stave off the challenge for their top-four place which is likely to come from Chelsea and West Ham, a point behind, Everton, three behind with two matches in hand – albeit one against City – and Tottenham, who are four back.
It is not the way Liverpool’s first title defence in 30 years was expected to go but Klopp is trying to remain upbeat.
“Really, criticism is always like this. Somebody can tell me whatever went wrong, stuff like this, I know the things probably before already so that’s not a problem. We take that,” he added.
“But it is not the last game of the season so there are a lot of games to come. If we would have played more often as we played [against City], we would not be 10 points behind City but it is not a dreamland or whatever.
“We have to accept the reality and we do that. We will fight, we will fight for results. We did that [against City].
“We didn’t get it because of our own fault, that’s clear, but the good stuff we should keep.”
Part of Klopp’s problem, aside from the injuries which have destroyed his defence and forced him into the double signing of centre-backs Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies on deadline day, is that a number of players are operating well below their levels of the previous two seasons.
Two of his front three in Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are not delivering the goals or assists expected of them, his flying full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have had their wings clipped and defensive disruption has resulted in fewer clean sheets and changes to the midfield.
Netherlands international Georginio Wijnaldum has been a virtual ever-present, with only Robertson playing more Premier League minutes this season.
He insists the players will continue to fight to ensure at the very least they secure Champions League qualification.
“Yes, of course, that’s what we will try to do,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.
“We know it’s difficult this season, the situations we have to deal [with] but we will not give up, we’ll continue what we are doing and try to win games.”