LONDON • Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp voiced hope that his team's 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United would puncture some of the giddiness generated by their recent resurgence.
The Reds were elevated to potential Premier League champions by some observers, following a run of seven wins in eight games in all competitions, which saw them move to within sight of the Champions League places.
But Sunday's defeat, inflicted by a Martin Skrtel own goal and a late Georginio Wijnaldum strike, left them six points off the top four in seventh place.
And Klopp said it was a timely reminder of the improvements that his team still have to make.
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If you think after a few weeks everything is perfect, it's a little bit crazy, no?
JUERGEN KLOPP, who pointed out that talk about Liverpool being EPL title contenders has come only from the media, but not from any Reds personnel
"If you think after a few weeks everything is perfect, it's a little bit crazy, no?" the German said at his post-match press conference.
On suggestions that his team had played their way into the title picture, he gestured to the journalists sitting in front of him and said: "Everybody on this side of the table, maybe.
"I didn't hear anybody on this side (his side) of the table talk about this. I have no problem with everything you can talk about, but please don't ask me because of this. I didn't say before so why should I explain now why we are not?
"We feel this defeat.
"We know it's deserved but it hurts, like it should."
The key, Klopp said, was "not going nuts when you win, not getting crazy when you lose".
"It's not a reality check," he added. "It's only a bad game."
Liverpool had won 6-1 at Southampton in the League Cup on Wednesday but a side showing six changes toiled at St James' Park, with only one attempt on target.
Wijnaldum's shot was turned in for an own goal by Skrtel in the 69th minute.
With the visitors pushing for an equaliser, Moussa Sissoko freed Wijnaldum to loft a sweet finish over Simon Mignolet in added time.
Klopp was frustrated that Alberto Moreno had seen a lobbed effort chalked off for a questionable offside call at 1-0 but admitted even a draw would have constituted a "dirty point".
"We made our goal," the German said. "But because we weren't good enough today, the linesman thought: 'Don't make world-class goals if you play this s***.'"
Asked what had gone wrong, he replied: "Nearly everything. The start, the middle and the end.
"Open game, with no rhythm from our side. Our defending in the last line was good. Our midfield pressing was not good. I couldn't see offensive pressing."
His Newcastle counterpart Steve McClaren, who had also been among those who labelled Liverpool title contenders last week, expressed optimism that his side's performance would prove a "lightbulb moment" in their season.
Newcastle had lost 0-3 at home to Leicester City and 1-5 at Crystal Palace on their two previous outings, prompting speculation that his position was in peril.
When asked if he had contemplated leaving out Wijnaldum, he replied: "I considered leaving out every one of them."
Their third Premier League win of the season brought them level on points with both Norwich City and Bournemouth.
"It saves me from banging my head against the wall tonight and wondering what I'm going to do next week," said McClaren.