Jürgen Klopp shouldered the blame since April 2017 for Liverpool’s first league defeat at Anfield, which he described as a “big punch in the face,” and admitted that talking about retaining the title now would be “silly.”
Ashley Barnes, whose penalty secured Burnley’s first victory at Anfield in 47 years, ended the defending champions’ 68-match unbeaten home streak. In five league matches, it left Liverpool without a win and having struggled to score since the draw with West Brom on December 27th.
“It was a massive, massive face punch,” Klopp said.
“It is my job, and that is a simple answer. We lost the pretty impossible game, but we did it. This is my responsibility.”
Liverpool is six points behind Manchester United and on their longest drought target for 21 years after being top on New Year’s Day.
Klopp said, “To lose to Burnley and we didn’t score three or four games to talk about the title race, how stupid would that be? At this minute, we cannot picture the title race. We have to win matches and we have to score got to achieve so. We have to work harder, but it’s an easy situation to not talk like it is.”
Ahead of this weekend’s meeting with United in the FA Cup, Klopp admitted it is up to him to regain trust in his players. He said, “That is the job a manager has to do. I am not the first to have that, and I am not going to be the last. It’s not rocket science, but tonight it didn’t work out, and it’s not the first time around.
It’s not about the results but the decisive moments. At the moment, these are incorrect decisions. It’s my responsibility to ensure that the boys are in the right place and feel right.
Trust is not at the highest level. Ninety percent of what the boys did is still there, but not the 10 percent that was decisive. It’s not the most blessed time of our lives. It would be cheap to put anything on it that we don’t have enough luck with.”
Klopp, who at half-time had been engaged in a heated argument with Sean Dyche, said Alisson told him that he had not touched Barnes for the penalty. Dyche, however, said, “It’s a penalty, and he stuck it in well. It was a move away from the players. When you play on grounds like this, a huge amount of work must go into these performances. There’s a big wobble in Liverpool, I don’t think. They had a few sticky outcomes, but even with the best players, it can happen.”