Reds losing their ‘mojo’
Klopp bemoans performances after defeat to Red Star Belgrade and Lallana blames players
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he has to find solutions to their away-day problem before the trip to Paris Saint-Germain in three weeks.
A 2-0 defeat in Belgrade against Red Star made it three successive away Champions League losses and put their qualification from Group C in the balance.
PSG’s 1-1 draw against Napoli keeps Liverpool top of the table on six points but only on goal difference from the Serie A side with the French champions a point behind.
A daunting trip to the Parc de Princes awaits on November 28 – although a win would guarantee qualification – and Klopp hopes to have discovered a solution by then.
“I don’t say it is already serious if you lose twice but we have to make sure it will not happen again as the next game is an away game (against Paris Saint-German) before a very difficult home game against Napoli,” he said.
“It is too early to say how it is. We have to make sure in Paris that we do better. We will talk about that but we can’t change it.”
A third successive Champions League away defeat equalled the run of 1979 which was ‘achieved’ over three seasons not three successive matches.
Klopp cannot quite put his finger on what it is which is affecting his side, but admits had they taken the relatively simple opportunity which dropped to Daniel Sturridge – starting in place of Roberto Firmino – in the 17th minute the outcome could have been so different.
“We had a lot of moments when we could get in control of the game and we didn’t do it, we just made the wrong decision,” he added.
“I saw a few games like this already and it is really difficult to find your mojo back. The first big chance to Daniel was a very big one. If – big if – we had scored early the game would have changed but we didn’t.
“We gave them too many setpieces. They scored with a header from a corner and the second goal was out of the blue.
“We gave the ball away and that’s not cool in a game like this, an atmosphere like this, a situation like this. You then have to play your best football in a negative mood. It was a blow. We made life a bit too easy for Belgrade. That is the main problem.”
Klopp may have been at a loss to explain the defeat but midfielder Adam Lallana knows where the blame lies.
Lallana, still edging his way back to full match sharpness after a period out with injury, accepts it is time for the players to step up.
“As players we’ve got to take full responsibility and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he told LFCTV.
“It’s still in our hands: if we win our next two games we go through, but that was a great opportunity missed for us.
“(It’s going to be) very tough. That’s the Champions League – there are no teams that enter this competition that give you wins.
“It wasn’t like us and we need to move on and improve if we’re going to go through to the knockouts.
“Of course there’ll be a reaction. It’s not the first time we’ve lost games, it’s about how you react and bounce back, but we’re thoroughly disappointed to come away (from Belgrade) with nothing.”
Klopp spoke of his side losing their mojo against Red Star but stressed he did not view it as a longterm issue.
However, his side have won just three of their last nine matches – against Red Star, Cardiff and Huddersfield – and it has been generally acknowledged they have failed to hit the heights of last season.
They conceded a goal from a corner and another from a loss of possession and quick counter-attack against Red Star, both uncharacteristic for the way the team have been performing.
“It was a slow start all round really and we gave them far too many opportunities, especially from set-pieces,” added Lallana.
“We had chances but we weren’t ruthless enough, weren’t patient enough. It’s not like us.
“It’s on us to take responsibility and we need to bounce back in the next two games.”
We gave the ball away and that’s not cool in a game like this, an atmosphere like this – Klopp
Pointing fingers: Jurgen Klopp cut a frustrated figure in Belgrade after his side lost 2-0.
Off the pace: Adam Lallana.