Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he does not regret rotating his squad as the Reds fell to a humbling 2-0 defeat at the hands of Atalanta on Wednesday.
Klopp made five changes from Sunday's victory over Leicester City, including bringing in three new defenders - Neco Williams, Rhys Williams and Kostas Tsimikas - and Liverpool looked out of sync all night long.
It was the first time since Champions League data started being tracked in 2003/04 that Liverpool have failed to register a shot on target at Anfield, but Klopp insisted that he will not use his side's injury struggles or busy schedule as an excuse for the defeat.
"Yes, we made five changes; that was very important for us that we did that," the boss said in his post-match press conference (via the club's official website). "In the end, it didn’t work out. That’s part of the deal, you never know before. And, anyway, I would do it again. That was the reason.
"Five changes means no real rhythm. The first half was not a good game at all, they were not good as well. I don’t want to blame them but it was just not a good game. We spoke about it, so now we can do it maybe [in the second half]. It didn’t look like, that’s why we changed then kind of early.
"Unfortunately, like a second before we could change they scored a goal, the first one, in a space which we knew they try to use. We couldn’t defend it in that moment, so they score the first one and then the second one in a similar manner. And we didn’t create, so that’s it. We had good, better football moments then but not good enough. If you don’t have a shot on target that’s never a good sign."
Midfielder James Milner echoed those thoughts after the game, admitting a change in personnel stopped Liverpool from getting going.
“We know it was a poor performance, pretty flat," he told BT Sport. "Obviously [there were] a lot of changes again and we just never got going tonight, which is disappointing.
"I think there were a lot of players who haven’t played together and the schedule is busy, we keep saying it. Sometimes you just have to try to get a win without being at your best and maybe not having the level that we would like to have, and we couldn’t do that tonight.
"We didn’t create enough, didn’t keep the ball enough, we just didn’t have that sharpness really so it’s disappointing. But we’re still top of the group so we have to recover and go again at the weekend, another big game."