Brighton 3-0 Liverpool: Where now for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds after ‘worst game’?

“It was bad. Really bad.”

The visitors were outplayed from start to finish at Amex Stadium, producing an alarmingly disjointed, toothless and lop-sided display that leaves them way off the pace in the Premier League.

Brentford’s win at home to Bournemouth on Saturday evening saw the Reds drop to ninth in the table, 16 points behind league leaders Arsenal having played a game more.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the 3-0 loss on the south coast, Klopp said: “I can’t remember a worse game. I honestly can’t.

“Brighton played very well. They deserved to win. It was a very organized team against a not very organized team.

“Of course we’re very concerned. How can you not be after a game like this?”

Worst season under Klopp?

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool, Brighton
Jordan Henderson said “everything” went wrong in Liverpool’s defeat at Amex Stadium

After 18 league games, Liverpool have scored fewer goals, conceded more, won fewer points and have a worse goal difference than at this stage of any previous full top-flight campaign under Klopp, who was appointed manager in October 2015.

They have dropped 26 points in the league this season – four more than across the entire 2021-22 campaign.

Klopp fielded a 4-3-1-2 formation on Saturday, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain operating behind a front two of Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo, but there was an imbalance to their play which Brighton were only too keen to exploit.

Liverpool fans will argue, with some justification, that injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and several others have had a major impact, but recent defensive frailties cannot be explained away.

Careless mistakes were to blame for the 3-1 defeat at Brentford two weeks ago, and the 2-2 draw at home to Wolves in the FA Cup third round last Saturday.

Brighton’s opener in particular was entirely self-inflicted, Alexis Mac Allister intercepting Joel Matip’s loose pass in the build-up to Solly March’s 46th-minute effort.

Asked what went wrong, Captain Jordan Henderson simply said: “Everything.

“It hasn’t been right for a little while now. Everybody knows that. I’ll take responsibility and the lads will too. We have to try to put it right.

“We’re pretty low on confidence. The energy level is low. We have to keep fighting and hopefully we can change it sooner rather than later.”

Goals scored: 35 7th
Goals conceded: 25 7th
Goal difference: +9 7th
Points: 28 7th

‘It’s a rebuilding job’

Klopp delivered an angry response when asked during Friday’s pre-match news conference why he has yet to bring in further reinforcements during the January transfer window, telling reporters that the “transfer market is not the solution for us”.

While Liverpool continue to be linked with Moises Caicedo – who delivered another midfield masterclass for Brighton on Saturday – and England international Jude Bellingham, Gakpo remains their only signing since the World Cup in Qatar.

Former England and Arsenal defender Martin Keown told Final Score a “rebuilding job” is required to pull Liverpool out of their current slump.

“I think Jurgen Klopp’s a magnificent manager – we know that,” he said. “It just looks a bit old in midfield.

“If Liverpool can’t press you – they were the best in Europe last year – then they’re not the same. They just don’t have that same energy.”

Klopp, however, believes better organization remains the key to improving the Reds’ fortunes.

“The same players have played outstanding football matches, but if things aren’t properly organized then it can look like that,” he said.

“Today is a really low point. From this game we can pick up absolutely nothing apart from things that did not work.

“To improve on today shouldn’t be too difficult.”

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