Jurgen Klopp tore into his Liverpool flops after the shock 1-0 defeat at Leicester that put a big dent in their title hopes.
The Reds will fall nine points behind Manchester City – who beat Leicester 6-3 on Boxing Day – if the champions win at Brentford on Wednesday, after somehow losing to a Foxes side without six defenders, and who had kept only two clean sheets in the league all season.
It would surely have been different had Kasper Schmeichel not saved Mohamed Salah’s first-half penalty.
Leicester rode their luck and substitute Ademola Lookman scored the winner in the second half, meaning Liverpool could be 12 points adrift of City when they face Chelsea on Sunday.
‘We were just not good enough,’ said Klopp, whose side had four more days’ preparation than Leicester. ‘It was well deserved for Leicester, a very strange game. We played a really bad game
‘We started OK, then completely lost our rhythm and weren’t calm enough to get it back. That’s our fault. The circumstances too – Leicester played two days ago, they deserve it, absolutely.
‘We should have defended better. There were so many performances before normal level, there’s no explanation. It’s a big gap to City.
It was not our plan to give them the chance to run away. If we play like tonight, we don’t have to think about catching them but if we play as we normally do we can win games. My main concern is to find an explanation for tonight, not the gap to City.’
As well as Salah’s penalty, Liverpool wasted excellent chances as they found Schmeichel in inspired form.
‘We have to look at ourselves and improve, which we will do,’ said defender Virgil van Dijk. ‘We were poor in the final third.’
Few gave Leicester any chance here, given their absences and their problems in defence. But Brendan Rodgers’ men produced their most spirited performance of the campaign.
He said: ‘It’s an absolutely heroic performance, an amazing result against one of the best teams in the world. It’s one of the biggest wins of the season, no doubt.’