Jurgen Klopp went on the defensive when trying to explain away this latest worrying chapter in his attempts to turn Liverpool into genuine contenders for silverware.
Unfortunately, those stubborn, prickly, natural defensive instincts had been sadly lacking from the players under his command for the preceding 90 minutes as Liverpool slumped to a chastening defeat at their newly-promoted hosts.
Perversely, having openly criticised his defence for leaking three times in last weekend’s victory at Arsenal, at Turf Moor he blamed his forwards for their collective role in squandering possession in the build-up to the two well-taken Burnley goals — Sam Vokes at the start of the first half, Andre Gray towards its end.
“It is not a defending problem, it is an offensive problem,” insisted Klopp unconvincingly. “We lose the ball at the wrong moment and they go (clicks fingers).
“We should be ready in our development and these mistakes shouldn’t happen any more, but our training drills did not include us playing the ball at the wrong time to the opponent. We put ourselves under pressure.
“I was really angry around the first goal because it was unnecessary, but I was not angry at half-time. If being angry makes sense, I can be angry with you in a moment, especially when they are rubbish questions.
“If I feel I have to put the finger on the spot I can do it. They know it already. It is not the pass we want to play, when angriness helps, I am angry.”
Klopp may well be correct in deflecting some of the blame away from a defence which has now kept just two clean sheets in the last 13 league games and, certainly, the forward players’ inability to convert a glut of possession into shots on home keeper Tom Heaton’s goal was deserving of critique.
Liverpool somehow contrived to compile 81% possession in the game without looking a serious threat.
Meanwhile, on the sporadic occasions that Burnley crossed the halfway line, they looked capable of scoring, with visiting central defensive pairing Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan looking particularly susceptible.
Perhaps some of the up-to-€37m Liverpool netted on Saturday morning from the sale of Christian Benteke to Crystal Palace may eventually be used to try and solve the glaring problems, not that Klopp was prepared to comment.
“If one game should change my mind then I would be a real idiot,” he snapped. “The answer is I don’t know, we will see.”
If the Liverpool manager was forced to endure a day to forget at Turf Moor, it ended in similar fashion for Burnley goalscorer Gray who set up Vokes for the opening goal before netting himself for the first time in the top flight.
What should have been one of the most memorable moments of his career to date ended in ignominy and embarrassment as he was forced to issue an apology for vile, homophobic rants that emanated from his social media account four years ago when he was still a non-league footballer.
Earlier, he had left Turf Moor in far happier mood, clutching the shirt of Daniel Sturridge, an indication of the former Brentford man’s delight in playing at such an exalted level.
“Yeah, it’s been a big day,” he said. “He’s someone I’ve watched at this level for a few years and it’s still a bit surreal to be playing against guys like that week in week out.
“In terms of self-confidence, I’m never too high and never too low. I try to keep a level head — I know how it works, one day you can be the best player in the world, and the next you can be the worst, so I just take the good with the bad.
“I enjoyed the goal, but I think if this had been a Championship game I might have expected to come away with a hat-trick.
“I’ve just got to believe in myself. There were a couple of times today when I probably tried to take an extra touch instead of carrying on driving, but it’s part of the learning curve.”
Heaton 7; Lowton 7, Keane 8, Mee 7, Ward 8; Boyd 7, Marney 7, Defour 7 (Gudmundsson 57, 7), Arfield 7; Vokes 7 (Jutkiewicz 82), Gray 9 (O’Neill 90). LIVERPOOL (4-3-3):
Mignolet 6; Clyne 5, Lovren 6, Klavan 5, Milner 7 (Moreno 78, 6); Lallana 7 (Grujic 78, 6), Henderson 8, Wijnaldum 6; Sturridge 6 (Origi 66, 6), Firmino 6, Coutinho 5.
Referee: Lee Mason 6
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