Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool cannot think about the title race on current form after Brighton inflicted a second successive home defeat on the Premier League champions.
Liverpool trail Manchester City by seven points, having played one game more, and their manager admitted his team have neither the games nor the required performance level to be considered title contenders.
Pep Guardiola’s side travel to Anfield on Sunday, but having gone 68-games unbeaten at Anfield, Liverpool have now lost two in succession and failed to score in three consecutive league games at home for the first time since 1984.
Following the Brighton defeat, Klopp said: “The gap to City … I am manager of Liverpool and so I have to say we want to be champions, and of course we do, but you need games for it and we need performances for it and we don’t have that.
“We will fight for three points, it is not decided who will get the three points on Sunday, but we have to play better and we will try. These gaps are not interesting at the moment. They are the result of the results we had already. What we can influence is the next game. Tonight it was not enough. We know that and we have to change that.”
Steven Alzate scored a fortunate winner for Graham Potter’s side, delivering Brighton’s first league win over Liverpool since 1982, but Klopp conceded the visitors fully deserved their victory.
He added: “Brighton rightly won the game, deservedly won it. They were fresher than us, they did more good things than we did and we lost too many easy balls. The best way to defend Brighton is to keep the ball and then you have control. We didn’t create a lot, and for me the team looked mentally fatigued tonight.
“That leads to not the best play as well. It was a tough week travelling to London and back twice. We were not fresh enough which means we were not good enough to break the formation of Brighton and in the end they scored a goal and had other chances. They deserved to win.”