LONDON • It was not the best of days for Liverpool.
In the chase for Champions League places, Tottenham Hotspur's reaffirmation of their talent in the 4-0 drubbing of Stoke City on Sunday should have provided the real motivation for Liverpool. But little of that was evident in an abject performance on Monday that left Jurgen Klopp musing on more than lost pride.
Momentum and, crucially, points were surrendered in alarming fashion against a Leicester City side inspired by recent events in every way Liverpool were not.
Weather the storm, win the battle, make superiority tell and move up to third. They did none of those and so languish in fifth today.
Klopp so often speaks in defence of his players on those subjects. But even he must recognise their inability to do the talking for him.
"We all play, myself included, for our future," said the Liverpool manager, his frustration obvious. "We get judged every day, especially on match days. Of course, performances have influence on these things...
"I don't think the players are not as good as I thought they are, but they need my help more to show it every day."
But when he argues one cannot buy leaders, a glance at Chelsea and their strong characters, such as David Luiz, N'Golo Kante and Diego Costa, would suggest otherwise.
If Liverpool boast the talent to step forward when they are expected to on a consistent basis, then it was not seen on Monday.
If they passed the ball as well as they had passed the buck, Leicester might have found it more difficult to rouse themselves after Claudio Ranieri's sacking.
Klopp said Liverpool never came to terms with Leicester's high-tempo approach from the start.
"It was not good enough in the beginning, not good enough in the middle and in the end," he said.
"We tried to be absolutely ready from the first second. But we tried with the wrong tools."
Much of the focus will again fall on the strength in depth which, with Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge absent with a variety of ailments, was virtually non-existent judging by those sitting on the bench.
Klopp's mission long-term has to be bringing trophies back to Anfield and if he were in any doubt, Liverpool's next opponents, Arsenal, should serve as a warning of what happens when that criteria becomes blurred.
"We have to react," he said. "React, react, react."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN