Reds los­ing their ‘mojo’

Klopp be­moans per­for­mances af­ter de­feat to Red Star Bel­grade and Lal­lana blames play­ers

Sport360 - - Champions League - By Carl Markham @carl­markham ✉ ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

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.

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