Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the Reds "deserved" their shutout loss to Italian Serie A foe Atalanta in the group stage of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League.
Atalanta beat Liverpool 2-0 on Wednesday at Anfield in Liverpool, England. The Reds must now beat Ajax in their next Champions League match to advance to the knockout stages.
"Rhythm, we didn't have rhythm," Klopp told reporters. "We made five changes and that obviously gives you a few problems with rhythm, but we usually get through a game.
"Atalanta was good -- Atalanta fought, Atalanta defended well. That's why we didn't have a shot on target. My defense was completely fine apart from two situations. That's how it is. Atalanta did well in those moments and we have to admit [that].
"It is a deserved defeat. I have said that a couple of times. It doesn't sound nice, but it's the truth. So congratulations to Atalanta."
The Reds and Atalanta played a scoreless first half in the Group D match up before striker Josip Ilicic drew first blood in the 60th minute. Fellow striker Alejandro Gomez collected a pass on the left flank to spark the sequence.
The Atalanta forward then curled a pass toward the far post. The feed dropped down onto the foot of Illic, who darted through the box before he tapped a shot past Reds keeper Alisson.
Gomez also helped set up the final goal about five minutes later. The Atalanta striker received a pass at the top of the Liverpool box at the start of that play. He eyed the defense before he chipped a ball toward the far post.
Atalanta's Hans Hateboer then put his head on the ball to send a pass to fellow winger Robin Gosens, who smacked a left-footed shot into the left side of the net to beat Alisson.
Liverpool battles Brighton in a Premier League game at 7:30 a.m. EST on Saturday in Brighton, England. The Reds then host Ajax in the Champions League group stage at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday at Anfield.
"With all the challenges we face in this country on top of the normal challenges already, my concern and what I think about in the moment is not Ajax, sorry," Klopp said.
"We go in a few hours to Brighton and play there. That's the first thing we have to think about and when this game is over, then we start thinking about Ajax."