Jurgen Klopp was in disbelief that Liverpool failed to score in their 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest, bemoaning his side’s poor finishing.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal early in the second half was enough to secure Forest’s first win since August as Liverpool’s wait for a Premier League win away from Anfield continues.
“I have no idea how we can’t score from set-pieces,” Klopp said.
“It’s not that the guys didn’t want to. I know, I saw. The fight, the spirit was there. All is well. We got the atmosphere, all kinds of things, but who can we blame for not finishing the situations? There aren’t many people there, it’s just us.
“It’s a big, big blow for us because we came here and wanted to get the three points. You look back at the game and think, how could that not happen? But it happened and that’s it.”
Virgil van Dijk had the best chances, opting not to direct a header at goal in the first half and then seeing a header saved by Dean Henderson in stoppage time.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah failed to control a ball as he looked sun-kissed and substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold had a late save. Not that Klopp was in any mood to credit Henderson’s heroics in the Nottingham Forest goal.
“He made two saves. The others were the best chances but we missed the goal. I think Virg in the first half thought he was offside, which he wasn’t. There is no real reason for this. How often does Bobby Firmino score from these moments? How often does Virgil van Dijk put these balls in the back of the net? There is no reason for this.
“It’s just intense. Three games in six days. Limited team. You can’t exactly make a massive change in the middle of the park, it created uncertainty, I understand that. But I didn’t see that with the boys. They made a real fight out of it. That’s what we had to do today.
“We couldn’t expect to come here and create 20 chances against Nottingham with the way they defended, I don’t think it’s possible. But I was seven, eight or nine.
“Yes, from the set pieces. The biggest chance in the second half was probably Trent’s header from open play, so they didn’t defend world class and we couldn’t go through. There were moments and I didn’t use them.”
The upheaval in squad selection came overnight, with Thiago ruled out at 5.15am on game day, his unavailability forcing Curtis Jones into a central midfield role. Darwin Nunez was also left out of the squad.
“Thiago had a bad ear infection last night and there was no chance of him actually doing anything. I took him home. Darwin should return. This game was too early. Maybe another day of recovery would have helped him. At least that’s my knowledge at the moment.
“Two things to remember. I have never played in this formation before and the most difficult thing in football is to play against a deep defending team. It was always clear. Obviously, we lacked runs from front to back and vision in the center. All of these are true.
“I thought Curtis did really well, but he’s not used to this position. He can play there, sure, but he wasn’t even in my thoughts to start. It all happened last night. But he did very well. That I haven’t created that much I’m not surprised. These things can happen.
“But actually, it’s the plays that matter. When you record from them matters. We forced these situations when we created situations where they had to defend us. They didn’t want us in the area to have a free kick or a corner. But in the end I couldn’t use it. This is our fault and no one else’s.”
However, do Liverpool have a problem away from home? Klopp’s side are winless in five attempts this season in the Premier League, having collected just two draws. However, the manager does not see a trend. “You can’t compare these things,” he added.
“That it’s better for us to play at home, that’s how it always is. But under normal circumstances I think we should have won this game and then we talk differently but we didn’t. I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that we played away here.
“They defended with pretty much everyone they had. We had to do better.”