Jurgen Klopp has dismissed Harrison Reed’s claim that desire was the difference between Liverpool and Fulham as the Cottagers won 1-0 at Anfield.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the Cottagers gave their survival chances a huge boost on Sunday afternoon, midfielder Reed summed up his side’s performance by declaring: “We wanted it more.”
The visitors were certainly good value for their three points, which came as a result of a performance that saw them create the best openings and rarely troubled at the back.
But Klopp disagreed with the suggestions that his players, whose hopes of European football next term are fading fast, did not want to win just as desperately.
He said: “Believe me, these boys want [it] but it doesn’t work in the moment and there are some reasons for it: we don’t score goals and we concede at least one, which in the moment looks like it is enough against us.
“You can discuss whatever you want, obviously, I cannot just answer and say, ‘Yeah, we don’t have mentality.’ We have mentality, it’s just not the mentality we are used to probably, but the boys want to win games.
“They wanted to win this game today. I saw that. We made mistakes still, that’s the problem, but that’s not about you don’t want it – the boys don’t want to make mistakes, we just made them.
“We have to make sure the mistakes we make are not accountable anymore, so like you can concede a goal – we conceded goals in our best phases, the best periods of our lives, but the only thing is then you are not bothered about it.
“That’s where we have to come. We have really tight results in the moment, pretty much always against us, and we have to make sure we win football games again.
“If it’s a 1-0, it’s fine, fight for it with all you have and then you can gain confidence and momentum maybe again. In the moment we don’t have that.”
Klopp did, though, acknowledge that his team’s performance was not worthy of taking even a share of the points.
He added: “It was not good enough. Conceded a goal, didn’t score, lost the game. It was not good enough.
“I had a few interviews and tried to explain it. We had to make some changes and wanted to make some more, and it is then clear that it takes a little bit of time to adapt – especially when you know that Fulham is in a really good moment and is anyway a good football-playing side. So that was clear.
“We started OK with our direction, especially when we sent Mo in behind. We had moments, didn’t use them, they had their moments when they played behind our last line, of course, but we didn’t concede a goal [then].
“We conceded a goal in the moment when obviously we didn’t expect it and it was only a few minutes before half-time. But we got then more and more used to each other and played some good stuff, created chances, had chances, didn’t score.
“Then the longer the game goes, obviously in our situation it’s not that you get stronger and stronger and stronger. It gets a little bit lesser again and that’s why we lost.”
Against Fulham, Liverpool named their 20th central defensive partnership of a season that has been defined by injuries not only limited to that position.
Asked if his team’s fortunes will remain the same until the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are back, Klopp replied: “For winning one football game, no. For being the successful team again, for being the team we can be in the best possible way, of course we have to be complete.
“More complete than we are in the moment, that’s all clear, but that’s not what we are thinking about in the moment.
“We really think from game to game and when you are winning then people think, ‘Why do you say that all the time?’ but that’s the only way.
“You have to think and to concentrate and focus on the next game and to go again. The next game is in a different competition where we didn’t too bad so far, but it will be a tough one, obviously, so we have to make sure we are ready for that.
“If we can go through, which is not guaranteed, then that could give confidence. Then we have Wolves, which is a tough one and then we have a couple of weeks off because of the Chelsea game and the international break and all these kind of things.
“We have to use that time, we have to hope all the boys who go to their national teams come back healthy, like always. Then I think there are another nine or 10 games to go, sounds like 27 or 30 points, so a lot to go for and we will try.”