Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the UEFA Champions League football match between Liverpool and Atalanta Bergamo at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 25, 2020. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has labeled his side’s fixture schedule domestically and on the continent “a crime”. The Reds face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, less than three days after suffering a 2-0 Champions League loss to Atalanta at Anfield.

Klopp’s men were stunned as second-half goals from Josip Illicic and Robin Gosens secured the Bergamo club a shock victory as the Reds threw away a golden opportunity to secure progress to the knockout stages with two games to spare.

The result on Wednesday night was hugely unexpected as Liverpool had thrashed Atalanta 5-0 away from home just three weeks earlier.
Wednesday’s result left Premier League champions Liverpool with one win from their last three games as they approach a run of four matches in 12 days and Klopp said too many games in a short space of time had made matters complicated. 
“I’m afraid to say I think it could happen not only to us but to other teams as well,” Klopp told BT Sport.”You ask us to go on Saturday at 12:30, which is nearly a crime to be honest. That’s nothing to do with our game tonight.
“Now my only interest is I got thumbs up, nobody is injured. Now let’s recover immediately. The boys are disappointed and frustrated but we don’t have time for it, to be honest.
“It’s just get fresh legs as quick as possible and go again.”

Klopp selected a number of fringe players in his side to face Atalanta and saw them struggle to find any rhythm, with Mohamed Salah’s shot in the 44th minute Liverpool’s first of the game.

Up against 19-year-old full-back Neco Williams, Atalanta’s Papu Gomez enjoyed a successful night on the wing, providing the cross for Ilicic to score the opener and then making a second assist in the build-up to Gosens’ goal.

Klopp – whose side lost a competitive home fixture by a margin of more than one goal for the first time in 137 matches at Anfield – admitted his players struggled with the intensity of the game, saying: “Both teams didn’t create a lot until they scored the goals. We saw it coming a little in the first half but couldn’t avoid it or defend it anyway.
“The ref brought a lot of tempo in the game, he didn’t whistle a lot. That makes it even more difficult on both sides. It was unbelievably intense for the boys; you need one or two breaks.
“We changed five times, that always costs rhythm, that’s normal. Usually when the first half is gone it settles a bit but you could see for some players who hadn’t played for a while it was very intense for them.
“So we didn’t really find a way in the game. We didn’t find ways to create.”

— Story by Sammy Wejinya


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