Jurgen Klopp has blamed “bad defending” for Liverpool’s defeat at Barcelona but insists his team “can’t play much better” after dominating spells of the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Luis Suarez’s opener and a Lionel Messi brace, which included a stunning free-kick, ensured Barcelona will head to Anfield with a healthy advantage in the return fixture.
Liverpool missed good chances to grab an away goal, with James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all coming excruciatingly close.
Virgil van Dijk was criticised for the part he played in Barcelona’s opener, and Klopp acknowledged his side’s defending wasn’t always up to scratch at the Nou Camp.
However, the German praised his side for taking the game to the La Liga giants regardless of the result.
“How we caused them problems was outstanding,” Klopp told BT Sport after the game. “We controlled the game so good in the second half, especially when we had the ball.
“But then for one time, bad defending, being 1-0 down is already hard but not a big problem usually. It’s how we went in at half-time, we told the boys what they can do better and what to do again.
“I don’t know if we can play much better. But then you have that one moment. The ball hits the crossbar, I don’t remember the situation exactly how it happened, but it’s Messi there and it’s a very easy goal.
“And the other one is a wonder strike again… that ball was obviously unsaveable.”
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Newcastle more important than second leg – Klopp
Liverpool have taken inspiration from the Anfield atmosphere in their journey to the latter stages of the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.
With that in mind, the Reds will be confident of getting themselves back into the tie when Barcelona travel to Merseyside next week.
But Klopp has insisted he is now focused on the weekend trip to Newcastle as a priority with Liverpool still fighting Manchester City for the Premier League title.
He added: “Oh yes, we will play again [in the second leg], that was the plan. And we will see. Of course we made our life not easier with that result, but still our people will be there.
“But we don’t have to think about that game now. In three days we play against Newcastle and that’s much more important.”