Jurgen Klopp has admitted Liverpool’s inability to start well against Swansea cost them all three points.
Liverpool were beaten 3-2 at Anfield. Swansea raced into a two-goal lead after half-time with Fernando Llorente bagging both. Roberto Firmino scored a brace to restore parity but Gylfi Sigurdsson struck to give the visitors all three points.
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And Klopp has rued his side’s failure to get off to a bright start – and expressed his disappointment at his side’s poor defending.
“We had to stay patient, we had to create the moments,” he said.
“We had three four or five moments where we could have scored and didn’t do it. Then you need it. What we didn’t have in the first half was that final punch in the right situations.
“We came back and played really good, deserved the first and second goal. Actually the most disappointing moment was their goal. I have no explanation for this at this moment.
“We should have had four our five possibilities to make a challenge but at the end of guy is free in our box.”
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Liverpool must now look at Sadio Mane’s form at the African Nations Cup with jealously. The Senegalese forward’s two goals in Gabon have helped guide his country to the quarterfinals, which rules out any chance of a swift return to Anfield.
The Reds have badly missed the pace and threat offered by Mane since he last played for them on Jan. 2 at Sunderland. Never was that more evident than against an entrenched Swansea side on Saturday afternoon.
At least Philippe Coutinho is edging closer to returning to full fitness from ankle ligament damage. After appearances from the bench in fixtures against Southampton and Manchester United, the Brazilian forward has now started Liverpool’s last two games, but is still not able to last an entire 90 minutes.
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The 24-year-old looked bright and threatening on Saturday but he was replaced by Daniel Sturridge in the 57th minute when Liverpool were 2-0 down and chasing the game.
Mane can effortlessly glide past opponents and, even when not at his best, requires close attention from defenders due his movement and speed. Without him, Liverpool simply do not have anyone that can fill the void.
The result is the disrupted fluidity of a front line that was free-scoring at the start of the season. The transfer market is still open, but it is not in Klopp’s nature to go out and buy a short-term fix.