(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has defended making wholesale changes to the side for Wednesday's Champions League match against Atalanta, which they lost 2-0.
The German made five changes to his starting 11 with one eye on their busy schedule until the end of the year and Liverpool barely managed a shot on target.
Two quickfire second-half goals from Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens meant that Atalanta became the first Italian side to win at Anfield since Udinese in the Europa League in October 2012.
"It was very important we did that (the changes), and in the end it didn't work out and that is part of the deal. I'd do it again," Klopp told reporters.
Klopp was about to bring on Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson when his side went behind on the hour mark, and Atalanta added a second four minutes later after the substitutions.
"We had better football moments but not good enough. If you don't have a shot on target that's never a good sign," said Klopp, whose side can qualify for the last-16 with a win over Ajax Amsterdam next week.
"It's tricky, sounds easy to beat Ajax but with all the challenges we face in this country on top of normal challenges we face already.
"We go in a few hours to play Brighton (in the Premier League). When this game is over we start to think about Ajax."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)