Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool loss to Burnley ‘massive punch in the face’

Manager Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s defeat by Burnely was a ‘massive punch in the face”but took full responsibility.

The champions romped to their first top-flight title in 30 years last term but have fallen off significantly this season, lying six points behind leaders Manchester United and without a win in five games.

The Reds seemed to be hitting their stride on 19 December when they took Crystal Palace apart 7-0, but have not won since then.

“It’s a tough one, not easy to explain,” Klopp told BBC Sport. “These boys are not the kind of person after a 7-0 to think ‘we’ll go like this’, they worked hard tonight 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.

“If I sit now here, losing against Burnley and didn’t score for the last four games and talk about the title race, how silly that would be?”

So where has it gone wrong for Liverpool?

Liverpool’s last loss at home came 1,370 days ago against Palace in April 2017, and they were undone this time by a late Ashley Barnes penalty.

It was their first league defeat at Anfield in 69 games, the second-longest unbeaten top-flight run behind Chelsea, who managed 86 games before their streak was ended in October 2008.

Despite missing injured defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, their issues lie at the other end of the pitch where they are usually so efficient.

Since Sadio Mane netted in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on 27 December, Liverpool have had 87 shots at goal in the Premier League without scoring, including 27 against Burnley – although they did win 4-1 at Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

Despite that cup success, they have failed to score in their past four league games – with two goalless draws and two 1-0 losses – and boss Klopp has not gone that long without his side scoring since 2006 when manager of Mainz.

Klopp, who left star forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench for the first 57 minutes against Burnley, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s my fault and that’s how it is. We have to make better decisions, we have to do the right stuff more often.

“These boys are able to do it but obviously after not scoring for a while, it’s not that they are full of confidence. You can see that.

“And people say ‘how can they not be full of confidence, they have won last year this and that?’

“But confidence is like a small flower, obviously someone has stamped on it. In this moment, we have to find a new one and we will – but for tonight, it was not enough.

“In the last third, decision-making is not how it should be. Everyone will talk about it, which makes the problem not smaller but bigger.”

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