Frustrating Liverpool performance helped hand Swansea City their victory, insists Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was disappointed in his side's performance, declaring post-match his frustrations, as they fell to defeat at bottom-of-the-league Swansea City on Monday.

Frustrating Liverpool performance helped hand Swansea City their victory, insists Jürgen Klopp
(Picture: Getty Images - Matthew Ashton/AMA)

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp lamented the frustration of his side's performance as they fell to their first defeat in 19 games away at Swansea City on Monday night.

The Reds' unbeaten streak was ended by the bottom-of-the-league Swans just over a week after becoming the first side to inflict a domestic loss on Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The Merseyside outfit dominated at the Liberty Stadium but could not respond to Alfie Mawson's first-half effort from a corner with Roberto Firmino hitting the post at the death after Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané had earlier missed good opportunities.

That was their first loss since a heavy reverse at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in late October, having won all of their previous five before visiting Swansea.

Yet despite the disappointment of the result, Klopp voiced his discontent at his side's shoddy performance as they consistently made the wrong decisions going forward. 

Liverpool lost the game in the first half, says German boss 

He told the media afterwards: "I am more frustrated about the performance than the result. The result is always a result of the performance. We were just not good enough tonight, especially in the first half."

Klopp insisted that his side "did not play how we wanted to play" and "didn't keep the positions" or "stretch the formation", criticising that Liverpool "didn't keep the right positions" to "cause them more problems."

He felt that the visitors gave Swansea "the opportunity to score" by failing to win "the second ball after a set-piece" and declared: "We defended the set-piece already but then gave them the opportunity to make another one from it and they scored with that."

Klopp insisted that the game was "exactly what Swansea wanted" because it was not their job "to play fantastic football" because they instead "needed to fight" to win.

He said Liverpool "wanted to fight as well" but due to having the ball "much more" than Carlos Carvalhal's charges, "needed to have a plan" to combat Swansea's aggression and spirit.

"We had a plan, how you hopefully saw in the second half when we went back to what we wanted to do from the beginning," the German revealed, but declared it "much more difficult" than if they had started playing to their strategy "from the beginning."

Klopp told journalists: "They now had exactly what they wanted, the stadium was there and their confidence grew and ours was not really there. With each minute the pressure increased and increased, so that was the situation."

He touched upon Liverpool's chances, "even in the first half", and insisted that they "lost the game in the first half" but still had the chances to score before the break, citing Salah's volley in which he was "alone in front of the goal."

The 50-year-old stated that he did not expect that Liverpool would not play at their best, but noted that they "have to do the right things in the right moment to deserve to win a game like this."

"How I felt, we didn't deserve it," Klopp conceded, even despite saying that Liverpool "could have scored the goal in the last seconds" from "a good situation." Yet even had they nicked a late point, Klopp feels it wouldn't have made the game "a percentage better" for Liverpool. 

Klopp: Reds' first-half display well below standard expected

Liverpool thrashed the same Swansea 5-0 only on Boxing Day, the final game under Carvalhal's predecessor Paul Clement, but Klopp's charges were nowhere near the performance levels reached that evening here.

The Reds boss actually felt that the clash on December 26 was "a difficult game" despite the score-line and said his side "scored in the right moments" which "opened [up] the game."

"But they're now in a good moment and fighting," reflected Klopp on the South Wales club's recent resurgence, calling it "a problem" that Liverpool "didn't score" and take their chances at the Liberty.

Klopp continued: "We gave them an opportunity to score and then that's exactly the game a team like Swansea in this situation needs, to fight for your life, block each shot, you need the post, the crossbar, all that."

He bemoaned that the first-half performance "was not even close" to their planned approach and that while the second period "was then a little bit better" and they "did more often what we wanted to do" but "didn't use" their situations to score.

Klopp felt that Liverpool "normally" must "start like that" which allows them to "have more influence on the result" but declared that there was "not long enough" in the game to "strike back" because of their sub-par first 45.

"Swansea needed our help to win and we helped them"

Some accused Liverpool of allowing complacency to set in after beating City in a thrilling clash last weekend, though Klopp dismissed such suggestions. He did however admit his team's performance allowed the Swans to claim maximum points despite the hosts' own display.

He acknowledged that Liverpool "spoke about it before" about the amount of challenges that they would face "playing against top of the table then bottom of the table."

"Everyone is talking very positive, fantastic football, the training week was outstanding, another little trap. You think 'wow, everything is fantastic', we knew about that," he added, hinting that Liverpool were properly mentally prepared for the match.

Klopp admitted that "unfortunately" he has to "watch the game back" and analyse the performance, saying that afterwards he might "know a little bit more about it."

"But I had not one second this feeling [that the mentality was a problem]," Klopp said, despite admitting that "part of mindset is offensive things."

He insisted that when discussing their "tactical discipline", the focus is "about defence" but that "as well it's offensive things" and particularly for Liverpool as "a possession team." 

Klopp explained: "It's clear where you start, where you have to be in each moment. It's not mathematics but it's clear where we can cause them problems. Swansea knows to win this game today they needed our help and unfortunately we helped them."