Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits current performances are not at the level required to defend their title.
Having gone unbeaten for almost four years at home in the league, Klopp’s side have now lost back-to-back matches at Anfield with Brighton repeating Burnley’s 1-0 victory of a fortnight ago thanks to a first Premier League goal from Steven Alzate.
Liverpool have now failed to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 1984 – not the run required heading into a home game against Manchester City on Sunday.
They have won just two of the last eight league matches and it has left them fourth, seven points behind the Premier League leaders, who have a match in hand.
“The gap to City… I am manager of Liverpool and so you ask and I have to say we want to be champions but you need games for it and we need performances for it and we don’t have that,” said Klopp.
“We fight for three points, it is not decided who will get the three points on Sunday. We have to play better and we will try.
“These gaps are not interesting at the moment. They are the result of the results we had already.
“What we can influence is the next game. Tonight it was not enough. We know that and we have to change that.”
Liverpool were missing forwards Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota, whose return from two months out with a knee injury cannot come soon enough, as well as Fabinho, defenders Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez and goalkeeper Alisson Becker – absent with a non-Covid-related illness.
Klopp believes the players who are fit are starting to feel the effects of those absences.
“Brighton rightly so won the game, deserved. They were fresher than us tonight, they did more good things than we did and we lost too many easy balls,” he added.
“We didn’t create a lot, for me the team looked tonight, fatigued, mentally fatigued and that leads to not the best play as well.
“We were not fresh enough which means we were not good enough to break the formation of Brighton.”
For the Seagulls a third win in four matches also brought their first league win over Liverpool since 1982.
“It’s a fantastic performance and a fantastic result. There is no getting away from it. I thought we deserved the win,” said head coach Graham Potter.
“I think the performance showed character and quality. I’m so proud of the players, a great result for everyone connected with the club.
“I thought the players were sensational tonight. They left everything on the pitch and I’m so happy and proud.
“It wasn’t like we parked the bus and nicked a 1-0 win. It was one of quality, courage and effort.
“We deserved the three points.”