Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum believes that his side were not ‘sharp’ enough to deserve a positive result against Burnley on Thursday night. A late penalty from Ashley Barnes sealed an impressive 1-0 win for the Clarets against the odds to bring an abrupt end to Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield.
Barnes was tripped in the penalty area by Reds goalkeeper Allison with just eight minutes remaining on the clock, with the Austrian striker duly slotting home to lift Burnley up to 16th place in the Premier League table.
Liverpool, meanwhile, remain fourth and eight points adrift of leaders Manchester United.
The Reds pushed Burnley hard during the second half but saw their efforts curtailed by a strong defensive performance from the unfancied visitors and a brilliant showing from Nick Pope between the sticks.
Speaking after the final whistle, Wijnaldum claimed that Liverpool were not ruthless enough to avoid defeat, but called on his team-mates to dust themselves off and go again with a huge FA Cup clash with bitter rivals United awaiting them on Sunday.
“A really tough one,” Wijnaldum told Sky Sports. “Before the game we had good intentions to play against Burnley. We wanted to play good possession play.
“We created enough to score a goal but unfortunately we couldn’t. We were not sharp enough and they got the penalty.
“We had 100% chances. Now in the situation we are in we are struggling to score. It is difficult to explain.
“People from outside will say we don’t have confidence. I still think we do. You shoot against the keeper and a lot of chances we get we are not 100% greedy to score a goal.
“We have to keep on going. We have to not think about a tricky moment but perform. The next game is Manchester United and we have to try and win it.”
Liverpool are still yet to win a Premier League match since the turn of the year, and have 21 fewer points than this time last season, suggesting the Reds will be in for a hard fight if they are to successfully defend last year’s title.
United and Manchester City, who are two points off top spot having played a game less than their cross-city rivals, appear to have emerged as the favourites for this year’s domestic crown.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp bemoaned his side’s performance after the match, but stressed that the Reds are working on a solution to their recent woes.
“It’s a tough one, not easy to explain,” said the charismatic German boss. “These boys are not the kind of person after a 7-0 to think we’ll go like this, they worked tonight hard and it didn’t happen.
“If something doesn’t work you have to try harder, more often, longer. It was not easy to lose that game and we did it.
“It’s not about blaming, we have to sort it together and we will. In football you don’t have a lot of time.
“We tried a lot, in some moments the right things and some not. That’s the problem, you have to break the wall down by trying, in the right mood.
“We had chances. We can’t imagine the title race at the moment.”