UNITED KINGDOM, November 9 – Jurgen Klopp admitted it is the responsibility of his Liverpool players to keep Anfield supporters glued to their seats after tasting defeat for the first time as manager of the Premier League club in a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
A late goal from lifelong Liverpool fan Scott Dann gave Palace a win at Anfield for the second consecutive season in front of the watching Steven Gerrard, whose Liverpool farewell ended in a defeat by the same opponents in May.
Dann’s headed winner eight minutes from time also had Liverpool supporters heading for the exits.
“After 82 minutes I saw so many people leave the stadium, I felt pretty alone at that moment,” said Klopp.
“We decide when it is over. Between 82 and 94 minutes, you can score eight goals if you want but you have to work for it,” added the German manager, who had previously presided over a six-game unbeaten run made up of three straight draws and three successive wins after replacing the sacked Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.
“I’m not disappointed with the fans,” insisted Klopp. “We have to learn that we are responsible and with 82 minutes gone, nobody can leave the stadium. A minute before the final whistle, anything can happen and that is what we have to show the fans. We didn’t.”
– Sakho setback –
Klopp said fatigue played a part in the defeat, after Liverpool played in the Europa League at Rubin Kazan on Thursday and arrived back in England at 3:30am local time (0330 GMT) on Friday.
But he refused to use the travel itinerary as an excuse.
“We have to learn that it is we who decide. We decide how good we are, how awake we are, how tired we are, nobody else,” said Klopp.
“Today we needed a few minutes (to start) and by then it was too late. We did many, many good things on the day but not enough. Anybody who thinks we gave everything we had tonight is wrong.
“Of course we could do more, maybe not in terms of running, but by being more awake from the beginning. Believe me, we have to learn this,” added Klopp, who won back-to-back Bundesliga titles when in charge of former club Borussia Dortmund in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
To make matters worse for Klopp, Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho limped out of Anfield on crutches after twisting his knee badly in an awkward fall during the first half.
“That was the worst thing about tonight,” Klopp said.
“I would rather have lost 4-1 and keep him in the team but we will have to wait and see. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.”
Liverpool’s slow slow start saw Yannick Bolasie shoot Palace in front before Philippe Coutinho equalised just before half-time.
But it was Palace who emerged triumphant, with manager Alan Pardew masterminding an Eagles’ victory at Anfield for the second time in six months that was sealed by Liverpool fanatic Dann.
“He had about 15 family members here today, he was asking for tickets off everybody,” said Pardew of Dann.
“The goal summed him up. You could see he was going to win that ball, nobody was going to stop him.
“I really think he has been under-estimated throughout his career. I wouldn’t have said that until I managed him but now I have, I understand how good he is.
“But the problem with this whole team is it doesn’t trust how good it could be,” added Pardew, whose eighth-placed side are now two points ahead of Liverpool.