Jurgen Klopp says top four is now Liverpool’s ‘main target’ after suggesting Alisson’s blunders in their defeat to Manchester City could have been down to cold feet.
The Liverpool goalkeeper twice passed straight to City players as Pep Guardiola’s side stormed to a 4-1 win at Anfield which puts them five points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table and 10 points ahead of defending champions Liverpool, with a game in hand on both.
Liverpool currently sit fourth, one point ahead of West Ham, and Klopp accepts his priority is now to ensure his side qualify for next season’s Champions League, with a successful title defence looking out of reach.
“That is of course our main target, that is clear,” Klopp said when asked about a top-four finish. “We will try everything.
“There is enough games to play to secure that – but we have to win games and tonight we didn’t.”
On Alisson’s errors, which allowed City to add their crucial second and third goals through Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling, Klopp said: “You cannot hide them.
“It’s two [instances] where we didn’t give him a lot of options, especially around the first one. I think the second one, yeah, he just mis-hit the ball.
“I don’t know, it’s not a real explanation for it but maybe he had cold feet or something. It sounds funny but could be. But there’s still the opportunity to kick it in the stands.
“But Ali has saved our life plenty of times, no doubt about that, and tonight he made two mistakes and that’s how it is.”
Despite the mistakes and impact of the defeat on Liverpool’s hopes of winning back-to-back Premier League titles, Klopp insisted he was happy with the performance of his team.
He felt his side could have gone on to win when Mohamed Salah’s penalty cancelled out Gundogan’s opener and believes Liverpool would have been closer to City if they’d been at that level throughout the season.
“If you lose 4-1 it is of course not our day but a big part of the game was a brilliant game from my side,” he said.
“We played really good football. I really liked it. In the first half we played really good football. Against City it doesn’t mean you are 2-0 or 3-0 up it only means you’re in the game. I’m not sure what the possession was but it was for sure not what it’s like usually for City.
“Start of the second half, City changed their system slightly to a 4-4-2. It’s a little adaptation in the end but in that start of the second half we didn’t give enough options to play and gave the first goal away.
“They scored that goal, we scored the equaliser, which in that moment it looked like the game could now go in our direction. We looked really good again.
“We make two massive mistakes, that’s clear. Everybody saw them, they used them. 3-1 down in a game like this is really tough to take and then [Phil] Foden with a genius situation where he scores the fourth goal.
“The performance was good most of the time. Really, really good, on a high level. If we’d played more often like tonight, we would not be 10 points behind City.
“The goals, we made massive mistakes. Against each team it is a problem, against City it’s a killer. And that’s why we lost the game.”