Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool's defeat at Chelsea did not come as a great surprise just four days after their Champions League trip to Roma.
The Reds looked mentally and physically drained at Stamford Bridge following their European exploits, falling behind to Olivier Giroud's first-half header and failing to put together the kind of slick attacking play needed to break through a regimented Chelsea back line.
Klopp lamented his side's poor defending for Giroud's opener but feels they can be forgiven for a sloppy display.
"I am really proud of the boys to be honest; ‘proud’ is the word because, again, they really invested everything," the German said.
"There is one moment I am really disappointed, not happy, angry with and it was the goal. Clearly, we should not concede another goal like this. It was clear, the plan - cut back, cross, and Giroud is there.
"Of course, we have played better games this season, but in our situation against Chelsea, who are obviously a world-class team, it's quite a challenge to do it much better than we did today, so result-wise, a little bit unlucky.
"I am not shocked or surprised it could happen today and now I am happy that [in] the intense time of the season for us, [there is] time between the games to prepare them properly, it will help us massively. Now we have a final next Sunday, so that’s how life is."
'Always until the last matchday'
For the second year in succession, Liverpool must win their final game of the season to be sure of a top-four spot, having seen their once healthy advantage over fifth-placed Chelsea progressively narrowed.
And Klopp is not expecting an easy ride against Brighton, who impressively beat Manchester United on Friday night.
"That’s my life, always until the last matchday. I saw Brighton against United and it doesn’t look like that would be an easy game, they were really good that night.
"It's football, if you want guarantees then you have to do something very different. The boys showed me that they are really ready to fight and to fight and to fight."
Klopp urges patience with Solanke
A lacklustre Liverpool did have opportunities to snatch an important point, but substitute Dominic Solanke twice headed over.
The youngster is still waiting for his first goal of the season, but Klopp is confident he will soon recover his shooting boots.
"If he scores with the header, I would have been really pleased," he said. "He is a hard-working boy on a good way so everything will be fine in the future."