Liverpool head coach, Jurgen Klopp, has conceded the Premier League title after Liverpool suffered another dramatic second-half collapse in their defeat at Leicester.
Six days after they shipped four in 45 minutes at home to Premier League leaders Manchester City, they conceded three in the space of seven minutes late on to slip to a crushing 3-1 loss.
It is now four defeats in their last six league games and part of a longer run of nine points out of a possible 30 with the defence of their title lying in tatters.
Now they face a fight to finish in the top four, with Chelsea and West Ham both able to overtake them if they win their games in hand on Monday evening.
And the shellshocked Liverpool manager admitted after the game at the King Power that the title had gone.
‘Yes, I’m conceding,’ said Klopp, in a lowered tone. ‘I don’t think we can close the gap to City.’
Instead his focus is shifting towards meetings with RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday followed by the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield next Saturday.
However, he has much to ponder in the coming days after another horror show from Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, badly at fault for the second goal after an unnecessary collision with new boy Ozan Kabak.
Coming on top of James Maddison’s equalising free-kick, controversially allowed by VAR, when there appeared to be players stood offside in Alisson’s line of sight made for a mad spell as they lost control of the game.
‘Big parts of the game were really good today but we have to avoid mistakes, we have to avoid misunderstandings,’ he reflected.
‘We can’t avoid mistakes of VAR, but the rest we have to. We were good enough to win the game for large periods, but not at the end.
‘Before the game we all knew Ozan is a really good player and we know that after the game as well. But he is not really used to all the things we do and when you play with Ali, you know he is quite offensively-minded and comes out of his goal.
‘It was a misunderstanding that can happen when you are new together. Usually these things happen in pre-season, but we don’t have that.
‘We are not worrying about the title. We are not silly. We have a tough game on Tuesday and then again on Saturday we have the derby.
‘These are the things we are thinking about and if we still want to have a good season, then we have to win.’
Liverpool have 30 points less than they did after the same number of games on the way to the title 12 months ago, but after an arduous campaign, Klopp is not looking for excuses.
‘At the moment, it’s tough’ he said. ‘But the only way out of the situation is to play good football, fight and work hard. That’s what we will do, we have to. We’ll get the results and see where we end up.’