Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s defeat at Nottingham Forest was inexplicable as he condemned the finishing by his players at the City Ground.
After back-to-back 1-0 wins over Manchester City and West Ham in the Premier League, Liverpool went down by the same scoreline on Saturday, with former Anfield reserve Taiwo Awoniyi getting the only goal.
Klopp pointed the finger of blame at Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk for spurning great chances, as the Merseyside club lost to a team who began the day at the foot of the table.
A third league loss in their opening 11 games was a jolt for a Liverpool team who had been looking to close an early-season gap to the top four.
“The performance I can kind of explain, the result not,” Klopp told BT Sport. “I never saw a game where one team has four or five no-brainers from a set-piece, where we have to finish it off.
“The way they defend, we were perfectly prepared for that. We had always a free player: Bobby in the first half, Virgil two or three times – they have to put the game to bed.”
Forest’s goal also came from a free-kick, with Awoniyi firing in from close range after Liverpool gave away the set-piece near the halfway line, described as “a big mistake” from his players by Klopp.
“Apart from that, all the chances they had we gave them, because we kept playing the wrong passes in the centre,” Klopp said.
“Result-wise, we should have showed consistency today. Result-wise, we could have had it by finishing the situations off.”
Regarding Forest, Klopp was frugal in his appreciation, saying: “Giving a team six clear-cut chances after a set-piece, I am not sure where I should put the praise on.
“They’re a great team and Steve [Cooper] is a fantastic manager, but for us we had to win here. We didn’t, so credit to him and Nottingham.
“In the situations, it was us against the goalie or us against ourselves, and not us against Nottingham Forest, because nobody defended Bobby in these moments and nobody defended Virgil in these moments.
“They were just free, but we didn’t use it, so if we used all of them you would be asking a different question.”
Match-winner Awoniyi revelled in giving Forest a second league win of the campaign.
He said: “I think it’s a good game for my team. We had a plan to play compact and at the end to find a way to get a goal. At the end we won and I’m very happy about it.
“I’m honoured to get a game against Liverpool because they brought me to football. They signed me when I was 18. It was an emotional game for me. As a team we stick together as our own family, and we have to thank the fans. We just have to keep on going.”
Man of the match Ryan Yates, a key figure in Forest’s midfield, said: “It’s what we needed. We’ve been putting in good performances in recent weeks and not been getting the results we wanted, but we thoroughly deserved that today.
“It’s got to be [a turning point]. We’ve got to build on this. If we can beat Liverpool, we can beat anyone.”