Jurgen Klopp blamed “mental fatigue” for Liverpool’s shock defeat to Brighton while defender Andy Robertson said his side are out of the title race.
Liverpool fell to another home defeat on Wednesday night only days after Burnley had ended their near four-year unbeaten league streak at Anfield, as Steven Alzate’s goal gave Brighton a 1-0 win and leaving the Reds seven points off leaders Manchester City, who have played a game less.
Pep Guardiola’s side visit Anfield on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, with the opportunity to stretch that gap to 10 points should they inflict a third straight home defeat on Klopp’s side.
Wednesday’s Brighton loss was Liverpool’s sixth in 18 days and following back-to-back wins over Tottenham and West Ham, proved one too far in the mind of the manager, who blamed his side’s sluggish showing on mental tiredness as they dropped further off the title pace.
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“For me the team looked, and it’s long ago since we looked like this, but we looked fatigued, mentally fatigued. That leads to not the best legs as well,” Klopp said.
“It was a tough week and today we were not fresh enough, and that means then not good enough to break the formation of Brighton.”
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Klopp also pointed to the recent form of Brighton, who have now picked up 10 points from their last four games and registered back-to-back scalps with this win following another over Tottenham by the same scoreline last Sunday.
“We played against a really good opposition,” Klopp told BT Sport. “For us this week looked too tough, we were not fresh, we didn’t look mentally fresh. If you are mentally not fresh, your legs normally sort your problems, but tonight they didn’t.
“They have a good plan and they deserve to win, but of course we wanted to play better and more convincing than we did tonight.
📉Liverpool have lost back-to-back PL home game for first time since Sept 2012 – also failed to score in 3 home League games in a row – 1st time in 37 years
Only had 1 attempt on target – fewest in a home PL game since April 2017 (L1-2 v Crystal Palace) pic.twitter.com/q5gO1X3LWQ
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 3, 2021
“I know the guys can play a pass from A to B, but tonight B did not seem reachable in some moments. I don’t have a real explanation for it, other than we had a really tough week, twice going to London and coming here tonight.
“We didn’t create enough. They came through and we didn’t come through.”
Robertson: We’re not in title race
Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson gave a withering assessment of his side’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title as their dreadful start to 2021 continued.
Since the turn of the year, the club has earned only seven points from six games, as well as exiting the FA Cup with a fourth-round defeat to Manchester United.
Robertson reiterated publicly the size of the task Liverpool have should they fail to beat Guardiola’s side at Anfield this weekend.
“Any game against Man City is a big one,” he said. “As this moment stands, we’re not in the title race. We are seven points behind them and they have a game in hand.
“You have to give [Brighton] credit for playing well. They created chances, pressed us, did everything we wanted to do.
“We didn’t really do anything of note. With a long record of going unbeaten, we’ve lost two. When you don’t show up you don’t get results.
“We’re still a good team. We don’t turn into a bad team overnight.”
Potter hails ‘sensational’ Brighton
Although Liverpool will dominate the headlines, Potter’s Brighton are now enjoying their best run of form since he took over at the Amex Stadium in 2019, and moved five points off Southampton and Leeds with victory, as well as 10 points clear of the bottom three.
Potter told BT Sport: “I can’t speak highly enough of the character of the performance, it was sensational.
“It’s not an easy place to get points, certainly recently. We’re just trying our best in this league, every day, every game. It’s one for the supporters, everyone in the club. It’s not often a team like us comes here and wins. It has been a good month.”
Pitch to Post Preview – Liverpool vs Man City special: Jamie Carragher’s verdict, team news & line-ups, and the standout stats
In this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher joins Peter Smith for an in-depth look at Sunday’s big clash between Liverpool and Man City. Carragher gives his verdict on whether Liverpool can recover in the title race after their defeat to Brighton – and what they will have to do to beat Man City in their must-win match at Anfield.
We also hear the latest from both clubs, with Sky Sports News reporters Vinny O’Connor and Ben Ransom sharing the team news and discussing the selection issues ahead of the game.
And Sky Sports stats star Matt Cheetham has the numbers behind the five key areas of the game, so listen in and impress your mates with his stats and facts! He also makes his Pitch for what will happen in the match – and reveals whether the data backs up the predictions made by some of Sky Sports’ Twitter followers!