In what was definitely the lowest ebb of the season so far, a sorry Liverpool side went down 2-0 in a shock away defeat to Serbian minnows Red Star Belgrade in Champions League match day four.
On a night when the Rajko Mitíc Stadium was rocking, Liverpool were out of tune and were deservedly beaten by the Serbian champions in a fixture that heralded such importance.
Shoddy individual performances led to one of the worst performances in Klopp’s three years at the club, leaving many wondering where the flair and irresistibility of last season’s side has gone.
It might be fair to say that this result has been coming in recent weeks, after failing to convince against Huddersfield, Arsenal and even Cardiff to some extent. While we cannot be too critical considering Liverpool’s record so far this season, it is increasingly feeling like something is missing on the pitch.
With those recent performances in mind, while this shock defeat in Belgrade is a very bitter pill to swallow, it could perhaps be just the medicine Liverpool needed at this point.
Fortunately for Klopp, his side has a great chance to put this result behind them with Sunday’s Premier League fixture against strugglers Fulham, who may not be thanking Red Star should last night’s defeat really rile up the Reds.
The players, all of whom put in a lack lustre display in Serbia, should use the result as a wake-up call. It should be a call to action to rediscover their best, to find it within themselves to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again – because if they do play that badly against Fulham, they will get punished again.
Despite their good start to the season, this harrowing defeat will remind the Reds that nothing is a given in any competition against any side.
It should give individual players as well a chance for some much needed self-reflection, as many players went missing last night or simply failed to do their jobs properly.
The usually faultless Virgil van Dijk was caught on his heels for the first goal. The impressive Gini Wijnaldum was absent for large parts of the game and was easily muscled off the ball for the second goal. Sadio Mané was wasteful and Adam Lallana failed to inspire.
Mohamed Salah was the only slight positive from the evening, as the Egyptian King was the only member of the team who looked to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and came close to dragging Liverpool back into the game on a few occasions.
These players need to look back on their performances and ensure that something similar does not happen again. We can almost be sure that they do not want to experience that losing feeling again, and neither do they want to look back on another poor performance from themselves personally.
This result in Belgrade must have a positive impact on the squad: they must be seen to bounce back and bounce back emphatically and in style. Oh – and quickly too.
There is the chance that it could affect the team negatively, make them fall into a bit of a slump and feel sorry for themselves, but I can’t see Klopp allowing that to happen. He can’t afford to let it happen.
Being only two points behind Manchester City is a bonus, but is a gap that even at this early stage of the season cannot be allowed to increase, otherwise we will be in a situation similar to that of last season and Guardiola’s men will simply run away with the league title again.
Suddenly, the Remembrance Sunday tie at Anfield against The Cottagers has become a pivotal fixture. It is one that needs a resurgent Liverpool side, not the sorry excuse for one we saw in Serbia.