Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to pull any punches after his side wilted to defeat at Premier League strugglers Newcastle at St James’ Park yesterday, describing their performance as “s***”.
The Reds were a shadow of the enterprising unit which dispatched Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton on the road in recent weeks as a Georginio Wijnaldum-inspired Newcastle ended Klopp’s run of seven wins in eight matches.
Centre-half Martin Skrtel diverted Wijnaldum’s second-half shot beyond helpless Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, while the Dutchman, who cost £14.5m from PSV Eindhoven in the summer, deftly secured victory in injury time.
Defeat left Liverpool seventh in the Premier League table, six points adrift of Manchester United and a Champions League place, although victory eased the pressure on Steve McClaren and moved Newcastle above north-east rivals Sunderland into 18th.
“This was obviously not a really good football game, and that was 50 per cent because of Newcastle and 50 per cent because of Liverpool,” said Klopp, who saw an Alberto Moreno strike controversially ruled out for offside. “It was an open game with no rhythm from our side. We were not creative enough, so we had no chances.
“We got this goal, it was something like a Christmas present or whatever. We made our goal, but because we weren’t good enough, the linesman thought, ‘don’t make world-class goals if you play this s***’.
“The second goal I’m not interested in, it was a counter attack and that’s normal. So we have to take this game and think about why it happened. That’s not the biggest issue in the world.”
Newcastle recovered their poise after routine thrashings against Leicester and Crystal Palace in which they shipped eight goals, while McClaren hopes the penny has dropped for his players in terms of what is needed to win Premier League matches.
“We said before the game, the one thing we had to do was out-work Liverpool and if you work hard and you out-work a team like Liverpool, you have got a chance of winning,” said former England boss McClaren.“Hard work, then you get the luck. I think we deserved it. We grew into the game and we showed what we are capable of doing. We hope that’s the lightbulb moment that turns it around and we do that week in, week out.”
Newcastle surged into a 69th-minute lead when Wijnaldum’s drive was deflected past Mignolet by the knee of Skrtel before full-back Moreno’s thunderous volley beyond Magpies stopper Rob Elliot was disallowed for offside.
Liverpool, who dropped Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge – scorers of five goals between them against Southampton in midweek – to the bench, barely threatened as Wijnaldum latched onto Moussa Sissoko’s pass late on to dink a first-time effort over the advancing Mignolet.