LIVERPOOL (AFP) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino delivered a withering assessment of his team's 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday (Feb 11), labelling them "sloppy" and questioning their nerve.
Spurs were unbeaten in nine games going into the match at Anfield, but never recovered after Sadio Mane scored two quick-fire goals in the first 18 minutes.
Spurs remain second, level on points with third-place Arsenal, but will fall 12 points off the pace if leaders Chelsea win at Burnley on Sunday.
"They were better than us and fully deserved to win. We started the game very sloppy," Pochettino told Sky Sports.
"It is difficult to understand. I am very disappointed in our first-half display. Second half we reached their level, but it is really late.
"The whole team were poor. It is about balance and today it was poor. That is the truth. We are in a position that is up to us.
"But if you show like today that you cannot cope with the pressure to play to win the league, then it is difficult to challenge and fight for the Premier League.
"In the first 45 minutes you saw a team that is not ready to fight for the Premier League."
He added: "We need to show more. In the end we will fight for the top six, but it's difficult to fight for the Premier League."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, was thrilled after his side belatedly claimed a first league win of 2017 and climbed back into the Champions League places.
"It was how you have to play against Tottenham and of course we had to show a reaction," Klopp said.
"The reaction was perfect. It was an outstanding performance, offensively in the first half and defensively in the second half.
"On a physical level there were some brilliant displays from (Jordan) Henderson, (Georginio) Wijnaldum, and (Roberto) Firmino - my God, I don't think I've seen a better performance from a striker without scoring."