'A punch in the face': Klopp takes blame as Burnley rip up Anfield record

Richard Jolly at Anfield
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Jon Super/PA</span>
Photograph: Jon Super/PA

Jürgen Klopp shouldered the blame for Liverpool’s first league defeat at Anfield since April 2017, which he described as a “massive punch in the face”, and admitted it would be “silly” to talk about retaining the title now.

The defending champions’ 68-match unbeaten home run was ended by Ashley Barnes, whose penalty secured Burnley a first win at Anfield in 47 years. It left Liverpool without a win in five league games and having failed to score since the draw with West Brom on 27 December.

Related: Burnley storm Anfield fortress to shatter Liverpool's 68-game record

“It was a massive, massive punch in the face,” said Klopp. “It’s my responsibility, that’s the easy explanation. We lost the game which is pretty impossible but we did it. That is my fault.”

After being top on New Year’s Day, Liverpool are six points behind Manchester United and on their longest goal drought for 21 years. Klopp said: “Losing against Burnley and we didn’t score for three or four games, to talk about the title race, how silly would that be? We can’t imagine the title race at this minute. We have to win games and to do that we have to score goals. We have to work harder but not talking like it is an easy situation.”

Klopp acknowledged it is up to him to restore confidence in his players ahead of this weekend’s meeting with United in the FA Cup. “That is the job a manager has to do,” he said. “I am not the first who has that and will not be the last one. It is not rocket science but it didn’t work out tonight and it is not the first time.

“It is not about the performance but the decisive moments. It’s wrong decisions in the moment. It’s my job to make sure the boys are in the right position and that they feel right.

“The confidence is not on the highest level. Ninety percent of what the boys did is still there but not the decisive 10%. It’s not the luckiest period of our lives. It would be cheap to put it all on that we have not enough luck.”

Klopp, who was involved in a heated dispute with Sean Dyche at half-time, said Alisson told him he did not touch Barnes for the penalty. But Dyche said: “It is a penalty and he stuck it in well. It was a real shift from the players. A tremendous amount of effort has to go into these performances when you play at grounds like this. I don’t think there’s a major wobble at Liverpool. They have had a few sticky results but that can happen, even to the best teams.”

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