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title gone? Jurgen Klopp makes no excuses as Liverpool crash to a home defeat against Brighton

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Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Brighton. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Brighton. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Brighton. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Is that the end of Liverpool's Premier League title defence?

For a second Premier League home game in succession, Liverpool were beaten by relegation strugglers with a name beginning with a B and this time, the ramifications from their 1-0 loss against Brighton could be profound.

If the Anfield defeat against Burnley was a shock, this setback was arguably even more alarming as Brighton followed up their win against Tottenham last Sunday with a victory against the defending Premier League champions.

A fortnight ago, a 68-game run was ended by the Clarets and this was a similar story as Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge.

The visitors created the best chances and the margin of victory could have been greater but Steven Alzate seized the moment with his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance 11 minutes into the second half.

Liverpool, who have dropped points against five of the bottom six, were without goalkeeper Alisson Becker due to a non-Covid-related illness but the concerns were at the other end of the pitch.

Klopp’s wait for a 100th win at Anfield continues while the Seagulls made it four league matches without conceding having taken 10 points from 12 and beaten the defending champions, Tottenham and Leeds along the way.

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James Milner of Liverpool looks dejected following Liverpool's defeat against Brighton. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

James Milner of Liverpool looks dejected following Liverpool's defeat against Brighton. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

James Milner of Liverpool looks dejected following Liverpool's defeat against Brighton. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"We played against really good opposition, that’s clear," declared Klopp.

"We looked mentally not fresh. They deserved to win. We wanted to play better and more convincing. We lost too many balls in promising situations. I know the boys can play pass A to B but today B did not seem reachable.

"Each player can play better than they did tonight. I know them, it’s not because they didn’t want to. Something else must be the reason.

"If we make too many chances we lose rhythm. That leads to the situation where Brighton beat Liverpool and deserve it."

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"Nothing good to say about it, it's over. Whatever set back we have to try and come back but we make more changes and then we have no rhythm so it's a problem.

"This week was hard, we lost our second home game in a row, but we can't change anything now we have to work with it."

When asked whether his side were still in the title race, Klopp responded: "The gap to City... I'm manager of Liverpool and I have to say you always ask and we were champions last year, so I have to say, ‘Yeah, oh my God, we want to be champions…’

"Yes, we want that, but you need the games for it, you need the performances for it, and we don’t have. So, that's the truth as well. We fight for other things, we fight for three points.

"It is not decided yet who will get the three points on Sunday, so we have to play better and we will try as well. Then we will see. These gaps are not interesting in the moment because they are the result of the results we had already. What we can influence is the next games and we will try for that.

"For tonight, it was not enough – we saw that, we know that and we have to change that."

The result leaves Liverpool seven points behind a Manchester City side who lead the table and also have a game in hand on the Reds ahead of their trip to Anfield on Sunday.

First-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling secured a 2-0 win which was City’s 13th in a row in all competitions, restoring their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table – and they still have a game in hand on rivals Manchester United.

"For now we enjoy this game, and tomorrow we will start to think about the next game," Guardiola said.

"It is for the same (number of) points. Of course (Liverpool) are a contender at the end to be champions, but it is for three points like today.

"We have won six games in a row against teams in lower positions in the table. We know exactly how tough it was to win with many of these clubs. We had to do our best.

"Now come different teams, different types of play. Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, West Ham, the Champions League, United. It’s another tough group of games.

"Today we enjoy this game and then tomorrow we think about Liverpool."

Guardiola may not want to admit it publicly, but a point at Anfield this weekend may well be enough to ensure Liverpool will not be able to catch his team in the title race this season.

The Liverpool inquest is only just beginning.

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