Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp called the 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea on Thursday a “massive blow” when his team set an undesirable club record of five defeats in a row in the home league.
After a sixth Premier League loss in their last nine games, the champions finished seventh and faced the prospect of ending up outside the top four after taking the title last season.
– Liverpool ratings: TAA 5/10, Fabinho 6/10 in fifth consecutive loss
– Chelsea ratings: Mount 8/10, Christensen 7/10 as blues in the top 4
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The extent of Liverpool’s frustration was evident when top scorer Mohamed Salah was replaced shortly after the hour – the Egyptian was clearly stunned by the decision as he shook his head and took his place on the bench.
While key player injuries have contributed to Liverpool’s demise, the lack of intensity in their play is mystifying and Klopp looked deflated on Thursday.
“Unfortunately we cannot say that it is only at home,” said Klopp. “It’s not about Anfield or whatever, it’s generally too often. We have to improve at the crucial moments.
“We have to show our quality right now and we don’t do that often enough.
“It’s a big blow. It’s not over yet. We have to win football games.”
ESPN FC’s Don Hutchison says Liverpool are done with the 2020-21 season.
What particularly annoyed Klopp was that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel designed an advertisement almost directly from the Klopp textbook – high urgency, relentless work speed, fast forward and courage in both boxes.
“I’m very, very happy with the performance. It was clear that we needed a full performance in all aspects of the game,” said Tuchel. “We did that, we were very brave with the ball and never lost our intensity.
“We have always been aggressive and very brave. That was the key. It was a great team effort and a deserved win. When you get to a game like this, you can’t think about it. We handled all situations very, very well. “
Chelsea also had the best player on the pitch at Mason Mount, whose goal in the first half was enough to send their side to fourth place.
“The individual quality of Mason Mount at that moment made all the difference,” said Klopp. “It was a close game, an intense game. Both teams invested a lot. You have to defend differently and we didn’t do well there.”
Liverpool played against Chelsea in the second half but they never really looked like an equalizer and the fact that they only had one attempt on goal was everything.
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said the team’s usual spirit was lacking.
“Five home games without a win is nowhere near good enough,” said Robertson. “Nothing is going to help the fans at home and it’s just not good enough because there are games.
“If we lose 1-0, too many heads go down, we can’t. Football is about being hit. We can’t rely on the past. Last season is over, it’s done.”
“We were nowhere near good enough for what a Liverpool team should be.”