Liverpool defeat to Fulham, Carragher, Keane, Klopp reaction


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said it would take a “masterpiece” for him to figure out how to solve his side’s crisis after a sixth consecutive home defeat as relegation-threatened Fulham won 1-0 at Anfield on Monday (AEDT).

The English champions have collapsed from leading the Premier League at Christmas to looking increasingly likely to miss out on next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool are seventh in the table, four points adrift of the top four, and having played more games than all of their rivals for a Champions League place.

An injury crisis has played a major part, particularly in central defence with the talismanic Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out for the season.

But the physical is only part of the problem for Jurgen Klopp’s side according to Reds great Jamie Carragher.

“So often at these stages last season, Liverpool scored late goals, even the year before when they were chasing down Man City,” he said. “That man (Klopp) rightly called his side the ‘mentality monsters’ and they deserved that tag. But right now, they are like ‘mentality midgets’.

“Every time there is a bit of adversity, you go behind in a game, his team is just not dealing well with adversity at any stage in this last three or four months.”

Manchester United Roy Keane declared it full-blown crisis. “The biggest worry I’d have for Liverpool is that to me is they’re not playing as a team,” Keane said.

“The signs have been there for the last few months, you’re thinking ‘are they really that bad?’ … It’s crisis time for Liverpool now.

“They are not playing as a team and that should be the manager’s biggest worry.”

Klopp, once the darling of English football, is now under the spotlight as his decision to make seven changes from Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea did little to aid his side’s confidence.

“We never had a momentum in the season,” said Klopp.

“You can see it’s still in the boys. They still have it all but at the moment can’t show it. It would be a masterpiece to find out how we change that overnight.”

Liverpool’s best chance of a return to the Champions League may now be by winning that competition for a seventh time.

Klopp’s men travel to Budapest for the second leg of their last 16 tie against Leipzig on Wednesday, leading 2-0 from the first leg.

Liverpool will need a major improvement to triumph in Europe’s elite club competition

Pressed on Liverpool’s lack of fight, Klopp conceded their mentality could be questioned.

“The reaction football-wise was kind of OK. There are a lot of players who are not on the pitch who can’t be a leader in this moment. That is clear,” Klopp said.

“We don’t have the mentality we are used to but the boys want to win games and I saw that today. We still made mistakes and that’s the problem.

“We have to make sure the mistakes we make are not accountable. We have to make sure we win a game again. If it is 1-0 that is fine.”

Admitting their top four bid is no longer his main focus, Klopp added: “It (the top four) is really not my concern at the moment. I cannot think about that. We have to win a football game.

“We have to win one football game, that would be helpful already.”

— with AFP

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