Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has vowed to be “as honest as possible” with his players after a 1-0 loss against Chelsea — his side’s fifth consecutive home defeat.
Mason Mount’s strike was the difference between the two sides, moving Chelsea up to fourth in the Premier League table while Liverpool remains seventh.
The Reds struggled in front of goal throughout the game, producing just one shot on target via Georginio Wijnaldum that came in the 84th minute.
Thursday’s match also saw Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s top scorer so far this season, substituted shortly after the hour mark, prompting his agent Ramy Abbas Issa to post a cryptic tweet of a single full stop.
“I am happy when the boys are disappointed (to come off), that’s not a problem,” Klopp said of Salah’s early substitution.
“I could have changed other players as well, that’s true, but the reason for the substitution was he looked in that moment like he felt the intensity really and I didn’t want to risk him, that’s all.
“That’s the situation. It’s really rare, I have known him now long and usually Mo looks really surprisingly fresh until the end. He didn’t look fresh anymore and I thought that’s a sign in our situation, I didn’t want to risk him.”
According to Opta, it’s the first time ever that Liverpool has lost five straight home games in all competitions since the club was founded in 1892, as well as the first time a reigning English top-flight champion has lost five consecutive league games at home.
The Reds’ form, hampered by numerous injury setbacks, is a far cry from last season when they finished the season with 99 points.
“It’s difficult when things are going wrong,” said Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold after the defeat.
“You start over-thinking and try to find what it is, and try to fix it as soon as possible.
“I think as soon as we get back into a rhythm and winning games, then that’s okay, but it’s easier said than done.”
What’s more remarkable is that a defeat by Burnley in January, which kick-started this year’s run of defeats at Anfield, ended Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten streak at home in the Premier League — one that stretched back almost four years.
Since the start of the year, Liverpool has lost seven league games, denting hopes of finishing in the top four, let alone defending its title.
The latest defeat against Chelsea was decided by a superb finish at the end of the first half from Mason Mount, who picked up a long ball on the left side of the Liverpool box before cutting inside Fabinho and finishing past Alisson.
Chelsea, which also had a Timo Werner goal disallowed by the narrowest of offside margins, is now unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel.
The Blues face top-four rival Everton at home on Monday, while Liverpool will be looking to end its run of defeats at Anfield against 18th-placed Fulham on Sunday.