Klopp had a final roll of the dice by throwing on Salah and Firmino for the final 20 minutes, but even their firepower failed to spark a fightback and Klopp’s team selection will now be seriously questioned as he is still to deliver a trophy in his four seasons in charge.
However, with Liverpool still in pole position to deliver a first league title in 29 years, the German coach defended his selection to minimise the chance of his stars suffering injuries.
“We played a similar line-up and had three tough games in the last couple of weeks, so it was clear we had to change,” Klopp added after a run of four Premier League games in 13 days over the festive period.
“The intensity of the last few games gave me the information it was not possible to start with these three up front. Only Dejan played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks, pretty much all the games…He played today and was injured.”