Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool need to find consistency to avoid missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League after his side suffered a damaging defeat by struggling Leeds at Anfield.
Crysencio Summerville scored a dramatic late winner as Leeds won to move out of the relegation zone.
The defeat leaves Liverpool eight points adrift of Newcastle in fourth, albeit with a game in hand.
The Reds beat Premier League leaders Manchester City on 16 October but have since lost to bottom-of-the table Nottingham Forest and now Leeds.
“You can’t qualify for the Champions League if you play as inconsistently as we do at the moment,” Klopp said.
“We have to fix that.”
Liverpool were hoping to build on their dominant 3-0 win at Ajax in the Champions League in midweek but they made the worst possible start against a Leeds side who started the day in the bottom three when a poor back pass by Joe Gomez was pounced on by Rodrigo, who poked into an empty net.
Liverpool responded well and equalised soon after when Mohamed Salah volleyed in from Andy Robertson’s cross.
But Leeds, belying their lowly position in the table, showed great hunger in response to that equaliser and hit the woodwork through Brenden Aaronson.
Illan Meslier made great saves to deny Darwin Nunez one-on-one in the second half, before the Leeds goalkeeper also kept out a Roberto Firmino header.
And, in the final minute of normal time, Summerville picked up the ball from Patrick Bamford before firing across Alisson to send the away support wild.
The defeat – Liverpool’s second in a row in the Premier League – means they are ninth while Leeds move up to 15th, four points behind the Reds.
“So many things are unlike us in this moment,” Klopp added.
“I am sorry it is like this, but that is the situation. I am not sure how deep you can dig, but we will. It is like it is and we will work on solutions.
“We have to have a look at this game first, try to understand it a bit more and go from there.”
Liverpool pay the price for another sluggish display
This is quickly turning into a season to forget for Liverpool in the Premier League as once again a slow start to the game proved costly.
The Reds have conceded the first goal in eight of their 12 Premier League games so far and while sometimes they have been able to fight back and recover the situation, too often it is leaving them having too much to do to get back and secure victory.
The early goal in this game was wholly avoidable as Gomez, out on the flank, played a risky pass back to Alisson but sold his goalkeeper short, allowing Rodrigo to nip in and score.
Although they managed to fight back and level, they were rarely able to match the desire their opponents showed, with passes in the final third often going astray.
Hopes of fighting for the title have been replaced by aiming to finish in the top four but even that is looking a tough task unless Liverpool find a way to improve their poor starts in most games.
Famous win can be Leeds catalyst
There has not been a great deal for Leeds fans to enjoy about this season so far, with even boss Jesse Marsch admitting recently that he is sick of losing.
The American’s comment came as he was explaining how he felt his side were not getting the rewards their performances have deserved, and this was certainly a display that should leave Leeds supporters feeling hugely encouraged that this can yet be a successful season.
They were full of energy and fight and Liverpool can have no complaints with this result as their opponents simply wanted it more.
This victory – just a third in 12 league matches played and their first since August – is a timely boost for Leeds, with tough fixtures against third-placed Tottenham and league leaders Manchester City coming in their next three games.
- 66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forMilnerat 79′minutes
- 4van Dijk
- 3FabinhoSubstituted forHendersonat 60′minutes
- 19ElliottSubstituted forJonesat 60′minutes
- 6Thiago Alcántara
- 11HarrisonSubstituted forGnontoat 72′minutes
- 10SummervilleBooked at 90minsSubstituted forAylingat 90+1′minutes
- 19RodrigoSubstituted forBamfordat 52′minutes
Match ends, Liverpool 1, Leeds United 2.
Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Leeds United 2.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by James Milner.
Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.
Substitution, Leeds United. Luke Ayling replaces Crysencio Summerville.
Crysencio Summerville (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Liverpool 1, Leeds United 2. Crysencio Summerville (Leeds United) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.
Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Robertson with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Joe Gomez (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andrew Robertson with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Tyler Adams.
Attempt blocked. Curtis Jones (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Wilfried Gnonto.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Illan Meslier.
Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.
Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Darwin Núñez with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Rasmus Kristensen (Leeds United) header from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marc Roca with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Jordan Henderson.
Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Illan Meslier.
Attempt saved. Darwin Núñez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.
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