Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has attempted to shield centre-back Dejan Lovren from criticism following the Croatia international's abysmal defensive display, which cost the Reds two early goals during their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Many fans and those in the media made Lovren, already an unpopular figure for some supporters at Anfield, a scapegoat in the wake of the humbling defeat but Klopp has reacted following by claiming that his partner Joel Matip wasn't any better.
Lovren made a duo of critical errors which allowed both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to find the back of the net inside 12 minutes, and was subsequently rather embarrassingly withdrawn from proceedings by the German manager just after the half-hour mark.
There was speculation that the 28-year-old was in fact playing with a knock, but the former Borussia Dortmund head coach quashed those theories - stating following the game it was simply a tactical decision to remove the under-fire ex-Southampton man.
Since then Klopp has gone some way to try and alleviate some of the blame that has weighed heavy on Lovren's shoulders for Liverpool's early capitulation, and has tried to focus some of the attention towards fellow defender Matip, stating he must also be held accountable.
"It is difficult to talk about because I do not want to create headlines which don’t help us”, the 50-year-old told Metro. "It was just defending in all parts. Everything that happened was so obvious…you cannot get results with performances like [that].
"Actually I really don’t want to blame players and Dejan was no worse, to be honest, than Joel."
Klopp maintained his team have the potential to improve, but rather oddly suggested that he might've performed better himself on the pitch on Sunday.
"We have to prove we are better defenders than we are today. The only way to fix it is to stay strong. The first goal would not happen if I am on the pitch, in my trainers," He added.
The Reds now enjoy some much-needed respite due to their lack of participation in this week's Carabao Cup action, but Klopp will know he will have a hard week on the training ground ahead of him to get his side prepared for Manchester United's conquerors Huddersfield Town next weekend.