Jürgen Klopp admitted Liverpool struggled to recover from the blow of Red Star Belgrade's first-half goals in the 2-0 Champions League defeat in Serbia.

Milan Pavkov’s seven-minute double settled the Group C tie in the home side’s favour at the Rajko Mitic Stadium and left the section finely balanced with two matchdays remaining.

Read Klopp’s assessment of the game below…

On what went wrong for Liverpool…

The start was pretty intense, that was clear. Red Star wanted to strike back, which they did; they brought in a few new players, very important players for them obviously. We had the first big chance – Daniel [Sturridge] with a very big one. Each goal in a game like this leads the game in a specific direction. We gave them too many set-pieces before they scored, so they could kind of train it in a proper match, and then they scored with a header after a corner. The second goal was kind of out of the blue; we had the ball and gave it away. That’s not cool in a game like this, in an atmosphere like this, in situation like this, if you have to play your best football in a kind of negative mood. It was a blow, of course.

We tried to change for the second half. We had moments in the box, we had scruffy situations twice with the ball on the line and they cleared the situation. If you score in a situation like that, everything can change. But we didn’t score. In the second half we were very dominant and didn’t give a lot of counter-attacks away. We had moments, we had kind of nearly chances; the biggest chances were in the last two or three minutes, before that not enough. If – a big if – you score early in the second half the game can change, but it didn’t. So we have to admit, congratulations Red Star, well deserved. They have the three points, we have nothing.

On how much the atmosphere influenced the game…

I don’t know. It was a good football atmosphere; I don’t think it would have been impossible to perform, to be honest. It was not that we had to be afraid or whatever, it was a football atmosphere. Whatever they sang, we don’t understand. It was only loud. I don’t know exactly. The atmosphere, singing-wise and noise-wise or whatever, was not a problem. But the atmosphere after the second goal especially, in the whole club, if you want, they could now smell it. At half-time we walked a long way to the dressing room and they were all in a very positive mood. We were actually the other way around.

They didn’t give up fighting, they stayed concentrated and they gave everything. They had cramps – three, four or five players had cramps. For us, it was not clicking, it was not easy. We never really came back into the situations. We had the moments. We played good balls in, in the right moment. But, similar to the first half, in different situations we had the ball in the box and we could not really finish or they got a leg in between. I saw, unfortunately, a few games like this already and it’s really difficult to find your mojo back, that you can do the right thing in the right moment very naturally. You always try to sort the problem you have on the pitch; you don’t find solutions, you sort problems on the pitch – and that’s a completely different situation.

On whether Liverpool were ‘surprised’ by Red Star’s approach…

We were not surprised. If you saw the first game, it was similar – it was wild, direct, stuff like that. In Liverpool we controlled the game and tonight we didn’t. They were aggressive, very aggressive, in all parts – but they were aggressive in the last game as well, we only did better. We made life a bit too easy tonight for Belgrade, that’s the main problem. As I said, they deserved it with the passion they fought [with]. In the end you have to score goals in a game and if you think about how often we were in the box and around, that’s what you have to do in a game but you have to make the last decision in the right way and we didn’t. That’s why we lost 2-0.

On the performance of Pavkov…

We know he changed the game at Salzburg when he came on, that was impressive that day. Tonight when we saw he would play, for us it was clear it would be in a specific way different because he is a  proper target player for Red Star. He played a fantastic game; I think for the second goal he was a bit surprised himself it went in but he hit the ball really well in that moment. He fought, they all fought, really hard and that’s why I say, well deserved.

On whether he’s concerned at Liverpool losing both away games so far in the group…

It made sense to make a few changes, a few we had to make and a few we wanted to. In the end, it’s easy to say it didn’t work out. Of course, we need to make sure it will not happen again otherwise it will be difficult because the next game is already an away game again and the last one is a very difficult home game against Napoli. We have to make sure in Paris we do better. There were a lot of moments when we could get in control of the game and we didn’t do it, we made the wrong decisions. I don’t think that’s anything to do with [playing] away or home, it just happened. We will talk about that and will do it better 100 per cent, but for tonight we can’t change it anymore, unfortunately.

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