Jürgen Klopp seeks to put the spark back into Liverpool
Defeat to Red Star was side’s third consecutive away defeat in Europe
Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson react at the final whistle having lost 2-0 to Red Star Belgrade. Photograph: Srdjan Suki/EPA
Jürgen Klopp led the inquest into Liverpool’s anaemic Champions League defeat at Red Star Belgrade as he sought to rediscover “the spark” that has disappeared from his team in recent weeks.
Klopp said Liverpool lost their mojo during the Group C reverse on Tuesday and sought answers from his players on their return to Melwood. Andy Robertson described Liverpool’s overall form as effective but lacking its usual spark, an analysis supported by the team’s best start to a Premier League season yet also a run of three wins in nine matches in all competitions.
The result in Belgrade was Liverpool’s third consecutive away defeat in the Champions League, the club’s worst run at the highest level of European competition since 1979. A win at Paris Saint-Germain this month combined with a positive result for Napoli at home to Red Star would secure a place in the knockout phase.
“I think it’s one of those periods we need to get through,” Robertson said. “Last season everyone was used to us scoring four or five goals. That can’t be possible every single game. At times we’ve dug out results, in the Premier League more so this season.
“Maybe it’s not been as good to look at but we’ve been effective at it. Maybe we are missing a bit of a spark in terms of not winning four- or five-nil in most games but if he [Klopp] thinks that then we need to try to get it back.”
Klopp’s decision to introduce Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Joël Matip into the starting line-up against Red Star arguably contributed to the disjointed display but Robertson denies Liverpool’s focus has wavered outside the Premier League.
The defender said: “It’s just games that we haven’t shown up in. They’re probably the only ones this season that we haven’t, for whatever reason. I don’t think it determines what competition it’s in.”
Klopp regularly conducts analysis with his players the day after a game, having reviewed the match himself at least twice but yesterday’s debrief assumed a more critical air given the nature of defeat and the precariousness of Liverpool’s position in the group.
“You don’t forget about these results quickly,” Robertson said. “The gaffer, win or lose, always speaks more the day after because that’s when he can clear his head.”
Liverpool’s trip to the Parc des Princes on November 28th has assumed greater importance for both teams after this week’s results. “We’re still confident we’ll get through but we need to prove that now,” Robertson said. “We believe we can win every game.”