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Liverpool 0 Atalanta 2 'A deserved defeat' - No excuses from Jurgen Klopp as Atalanta stun Liverpool at Anfield

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had few excuses as his side slipped to a rare home defeat against Atalanta at Anfield.

Just when it seemed as if Liverpool were finding a way to overcome their catalogue of injuries, Atalanta rocked them onto the ropes with a 2-0 defeat that means Klopp's hopes of early qualification for the next phase of the Champions League evaporated.

The Reds boss made five changes from Sunday’s victory over Leicester, 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.

Even the return of Mohamed Salah after his positive Covid-19 test could not lift the side out of their torpor – or help them generate a shot on target in 90 minutes – as second-half goals from Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens ensured there would be no option for Klopp to rest players in both of their final two matches.

"It was not a good game. From both teams, didn't create a lot, until they scored the goals," conceded Klopp.

"A deserved defeat in a difficult game. The ref didn't whistle a lot and that makes it even more difficult, for both sides. It was unbelievably intense and you need some breaks.

"When the first half is gone, you usually settle but for some players who didn't play for a while it was very intense for them. We didn't find a way in the game.

"Easier to talk about a good game. We had moments but not real chances. It could happen to other teams."

Liverpool's James Milner was equally philosophical, as he quickly turned his thoughts to Saturday's Premier League game against Brighton.

"We didn't get going. We know it was a poor performance and that we were pretty flat," he told BT Sport.

"A lot of players have not played together and the schedule is busy. Sometimes you have to try and get a win without being your best but we didn't have that sharpness.

"We are still top of the group so we have to recover and go again at the weekend. The effort is always there. They took their chances at the right time. The whole game we were maybe a second late on the press and created very few chances.

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"It was one of those nights where we didn't produce our best. We need to move on from it pretty quickly because we have a lot of games coming up.

"It's in our hands and we have to look where we can improve and now think about Brighton."

Victory over Ajax next week would still guarantee safe passage and with December’s schedule, Klopp will want to avoid the nightmare scenario of having something to play for with the final game against Midtjylland.

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