Jürgen Klopp accused Liverpool of making life too easy for Red Star Belgrade and warned a repeat in their final two group games will jeopardise their Champions League aspirations.
Liverpool slumped to a damaging 2-0 defeat in Serbia where two Milan Pavkov goals brought Red Star a first win in European football's elite competition since 1992. Klopp claimed Liverpool lost their "mojo" in the intense atmosphere of the Stadion Rajko Mitic, where a changed team featuring Joel Matip, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge – who was withdrawn at half-time – were easily subdued by Group C's bottom-placed side. It 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.
Asked to explain what went wrong in Belgrade, Klopp replied: “I only have 10 fingers.” He elaborated: “They were aggressive. They were aggressive in the last game as well only then we did better. We made life a bit too easy for Belgrade. That is the main problem. They deserved it with the passion they showed. They gave everything. For us it was not clicking, it was not easy. We never came back into situations. We had the moments, we played good balls in at the right moments, but then we had the ball in the box and could not really finish.
“I saw a few games like this already and it is really difficult to find your mojo back. You can only do the right thing in the right moment. You have to be very natural. You try to solve problems on the pitch and you don’t find solutions on the pitch, you solve problems. That’s a completely different situation.”
Klopp denied that two successive away defeats and poor displays – at Napoli and now Red Star – demonstrated an underlying problem with Liverpool’s form away from Anfield. “In the game [we lost our mojo], but not in general,” he added.
“It made sense to make a few changes. A few we had to make and a few we wanted to but it is easy to say it didn’t work out in the end. I don’t say it is already serious if we lose twice but we have to make sure it will not happen again otherwise it will be difficult as the next game is already an away game [at Paris Saint-Germain]. The last one is a very difficult home game against Napoli. We have to make sure you cannot ask that question again. It is too early to say that is how it is. We have to make sure in Paris that we do better. There were a lot of moments when we could get in control of the game and we didn’t do, we made the wrong decision.” – Guardian service