Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat against Chelsea was a “massive blow” as his troubled club lost five successive home games for the first time in their history.
Klopp’s side were condemned to unprecedented misery at Anfield by Mason Mount’s superb strike late in the first half on Thursday.
After storming to their first English title in 30 years last season, injury-hit Liverpool have endured a wretched defence of the crown and now face an uphill struggle just to finish in the top four.
With 11 games left, seventh-placed Liverpool are languishing four points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Reds boss Klopp conceded losing to a direct rival for the Champions League places was a big setback, especially as his team are mired in a miserable run of five defeats in their last six league games.
“It is not about Anfield or whatever, it is in general, too often. In the decisive moments we have to improve,” Klopp said.
“You cannot say it is only at home. We have to show our quality in these moments and we don’t do that often enough.
“It was a tight, intense game. It is a massive blow. We have to win football games. It is not done yet.”
Klopp was unhappy with Liverpool’s defending for Mount’s goal as Fabinho was left trailing in the midfielder’s wake.
He was also frustrated by their lack of cutting edge up front, with leading scorer Mohamed Salah hauled off after an hour.
“You have to defend differently and we didn’t do well there. In the end we conceded one goal, we made the mistake there,” he said.
“You can say it was good defending by Chelsea but with all the possession we had you need to have more chances. Everything was really good until the final pass.”
On Salah’s substitution, which left the Egypt forward shaking his head as he walked to the bench, Klopp added: “I just brought on fresh legs. Mo looked like today he suffered a bit, he played a lot of games.
“I could have taken off Sadio (Mane) or Bobby (Firmino). That is all clear but at that moment it looked like Mo.”