Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool are putting Champions League football next season at risk with a disastrous start to the season after Leeds stunned Anfield with a 2-1 on Saturday.
Crysencio Summerville’s 89th minute goal inflicted the Reds first home league defeat in front of a crowd since April 2017.
Liverpool have now lost twice as many games in the first 12 league games of this season as they did in 38 last season.
Klopp’s men are 13 points behind of Manchester City at the top of the table and eight adrift of the top four.
“We cannot qualify for the Champions League if you play as inconsistent as we do in the moment,” said Klopp. “We have to fix that and then anything is possible.”
For the second time in a week, Liverpool were beaten by a side that started the day in the relegation zone.
Klopp again pointed the finger for his side’s struggles this season on a series of injuries and a brutal schedule to make way for a mid-season World Cup.
“The situation is like it is. There is no excuse but we had problems from the first day with injuries or half-fit players. Some play too often, others play too early (after injury).
“It’s not now for an overhaul, but you have to fight through and fight for momentum and confidence.”
Relief for Marsch
Leeds began the night second bottom of the table but climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to their first win in nine games.
That winless run had left Jesse Marsch fighting to save his job.
“Everybody has made a big deal about firing me, but the board and I have been unified and we’ve stuck together,” said the American.
“My feeling is that we shouldn’t be in the situation we’re in, but we are.
“I’ve tried to stay calm, but I’ve also tried to push. The players have stepped up big today.”
Leeds could not have wished for a more generous gift from the hosts than for the opener after just four minutes.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker stumbled as he tried to reach Joe Gomez’s backpass, allowing Rodrigo an easy finish into the unguarded net for the Spaniard’s sixth goal of the season.
The lead did not last long as Mohamed Salah levelled with his seventh goal in five games against Leeds by steering home Andy Robertson’s cross on 14 minutes.
An unusually late Saturday night kick-off for the Premier League caused by Liverpool’s Champions League commitments on Tuesday contributed to a crackling atmosphere.
Spurred on by both sets of supporters, the two teams continued to tear from one end of the field to the other in a wide open match.
Leeds were inches away from retaking the lead when Brendan Aaronson hit the crossbar before Alisson made amends for his earlier slip by saving from Jack Harrison.
Darwin Nunez had scored in his previous four starts to start repaying his 75 million euro ($75 million) transfer fee.
But the Uruguayan had a night to forget in front of goal as he twice failed to beat Illan Meslier when one-on-one with the French goalkeeper.
Meslier also saved from Salah and Roberto Firmino in the closing stages as Leeds looked to be hanging on just for a point.
But Summerville produced a moment of genius to give them all three and set up a memorable 21st birthday for the Dutch winger tomorrow.
“My birthday is going to be special!” Summerville said. “Scoring the winner at Anfield is a dream for every player.”
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