Jurgen Klopp has said there are no excuses for Liverpool’s “deserved defeat” to Atalanta on Wednesday night’s Champions League game.
The Reds’ hopes of progressing early to the last 16 were dealt a blow as Klopp’s gamble backfired.
Klopp had made five changes from Sunday’s victory over Leicester City including altering three of his back four, and paid for it with a lack of cohesion and rhythm which allowed last season’s quarter-finalists to become the first team to win at Anfield in 90 minutes since Chelsea in September 2018.
Klopp said: “We made five changes, it was very important we did that, and in the end it didn’t work out and that is part of the deal. I would do it again.
“(We had) no real rhythm, first half was not a good game at all, they were not good as well. We spoke about it but second half it didn’t look like it (would change) and that is why we changed early.
“A second before we could change (Klopp was in the process of making a quadruple substitution) they scored the first goal, in a space which we knew they tried to use and we couldn’t defend in that moment.
“We had better football moments but not good enough. If you don’t have a shot on target that is never a good sign.”
Liverpool lost a competitive home match by a margin of more than one goal for the first time in 137 matches at Anfield under Klopp, with this their heaviest such defeat since August 2015 in the Premier League against West Ham under Brendan Rodgers, a 3-0 defeat.
Even the return of Mohamed Salah could not lift the side out of their torpor as second-half goals from Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens ensured there would be little room for Klopp to rest players in their final two matches.
However, Liverpool remain in control of their own destiny in Champions League Group D.
Next, Liverpool travel to face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday in the Premier League. They return to Champions League action when they host Ajax on Tuesday, December 1.