Jurgen Klopp bemoaned Liverpool’s “passive” performance as they were thrashed 4-1 by Manchester City and said his side were fortunate not to concede more goals.
Liverpool took an early lead through Mohamed Salah at the Etihad Stadium but Julian Alvarez’s goal pegged them back at half-time and City were rampant after the break as the visitors fell apart.
Kevin De Bruyne scored inside a minute of the restart and further goals from Jack Grealish and Ilkay Gundogan sealed an emphatic win for Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing side which leaves the Reds facing an uphill battle to secure a top-four finish.
“Everyone could see the first half was OK, not only the result,” Klopp said.
“City had more possession but that always happens when we play here and we scored a wonderful goal, could have scored a second one in a really good counter-attack.
“Then, I would say this situation was rather unlucky, Kevin De Bruyne gets a touch, it rolls through Robbo’s legs and then 1-1.
“You come out of half-time, a ball in midfield, not even a challenge, we are too deep. If you are too deep, too passive, they use that so that is 2-1.
“Then 3-1 super quick, after we have three or four one-on-one situations and we don’t make a challenge and you saw what happened, we were not there, anyone, too passive, too open, too deep, too far away from anything.
“Four performances were okay, the two midfielders, Hendo [Jordan Henderson] and Fab [Fabinho], worked a lot, Cody [Gakpo] and Ali [Alisson] and that is very difficult.
“If you want to get something here, 14 or 15 players have to be on top of their game and that was not the case.
“We had a situation for 3-2 when Robbo broke through but apart from that City could do what they wanted because the spaces were too big so we were lucky they only scored one more.”
Speaking in his post-match interview with BT Sport, Klopp added: “There is nothing good to say about this game.
“It’s a game we have to use, unfortunately, to make clear which things cannot happen. We cannot not have challenges in key areas. We cannot be that kind of open. It’s not possible. But it happened.
“I have to explain it but I can’t. I can only describe it.”
Guardiola hails ‘perfect’ display and ‘exceptional’ Grealish
Pep Guardiola lauded Manchester City’s performance as they kept the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table.
“Our display was almost perfect, the first minute to 93rd, the way we played against our biggest rivals in the last seasons and always really struggle to find a way, the quality they have, the way they press, the transition,” he said.
“But all of them, starting with Edi [Ederson] and finishing with Jack, they were really good the way they played.
“When we conceded the goal, we were playing really well. Of course, they are always a threat in the transitions, but we played really well in all departments. It was one of our best performances in these seven years.”
On Grealish’s player-of-the-match display, he added: “All season, I have been really, really pleased with Jack. Aston Villa fans knew him really well.
“Nothing changed because we are doing the same as in the previous season, he just believes he can be part of that, he believes completely.
“But the way he behaved when he wasn’t playing at the beginning was exceptional. Today, he was amazing, really good. I liked the way the fans gave him a standing ovation, he deserved it. All season he was playing well.”
Asked whether Grealish should be judged on goals, Guardiola said: “You can judge the block to Salah, maybe it could be 2-0. Football is more than the stats, it is many, many things. The way he gave us the right tempo to play and the right tempo to make the extra passes.
“I could not imagine the big name he is and the price the club paid, the humility to run like a teenager. That means a lot to me and the team. At the same time, he has to score more goals at home, definitely.”
Manchester City were without Erling Haaland at the Etihad Stadium as he continues his recovery from a groin injury but Guardiola said he is “much, much better” and was delighted with how his side performed in the Norwegian’s absence.
“Nothing changes. In football, the tactic is players. With Erling, you have something special and Julian is something special too,” he said.
“He scored a perfect goal, the whole action was brilliant. The vision to have the second one, to play that position with Riyad where he knows he is there. He was involved for the first three goals.
“Except for one or two actions at the beginning where, with Ruben, he set the ball not properly, with the ball he was so clever and so intelligent.
“Listen, he is playing with a national team that are World Cup champions. If you aren’t good, you cannot play in a world champion team. So I am very pleased. Thank you so much for the scouting and Txiki [Begiristain] to discover him and for this price.
“Like Jack, he is so respected because he is so humble. He had a really good game.”