Jurgen Klopp insists he is not loyal to his “underperforming” senior players and says Liverpool will only look to strengthen their squad in January if deals are “available and doable”.
Klopp has plenty of problems to sort out after admitting Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Brighton was the worst performance of his managerial career.
His side have already lost six times in the Premier League – after being beaten four times in 63 games in all competitions last season – and are 10 points off the top four.
Speaking about last night Liverpool’s return to the 3rd round of the FA Cup against Wolves, Klopp said that Liverpool’s issues are very difficult and cannot be solved by simply spending money on the transfer market, although he admitted the need intended to strengthen – Liverpool already spent up to £45m when they signed Cody Gakpo this January.
Liverpool’s aging midfield is under particular scrutiny as captain Jordan Henderson himself admitted in Saturday’s defeat at Brighton that he “lacked energy”.
Henderson (32) and Fabinho (29) – who won every club trophy during their time at Anfield – and 31-year-old Thiago, who arrived late but still won two trophies last season, remain the options. First in the Reds midfield. .
Dismissing the criticism that he relies too much on the so-called old guard, Klopp said: “I heard that I am honest, but I am not honest, the problem is very difficult. player to change, then it makes sense.
“But if you can’t bring someone in, you can’t get someone out, I’m not honest. Before I left Dortmund, I said something has to be changed here – either a change in management or many other things are needed. is to be replaced.
“I will stay here as long as I am wanted. If anyone tells me to go, I will not go. It is something in the future, in the summer, not now. All I want is to fix this situation. – that’s all.
“Obviously there will be an important period of change. There have been injuries, but no one cares. The boys feel the responsibility, but we will stick with everything we have.”
He added: “We have to strengthen the response every week. Even when we lost another game since the last press conference, nothing changes.”
Klopp: We are not stubborn
Klopp also addressed questions related to whether the poor form, especially in addition to injuries to Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Virgil van Dijk, will force the club into the January market.
“We look outside as well,” he said. “It’s not like we’re stubborn and think that’s it, we’re going to follow these guys until 2050 or whatever. That’s not how we see it, it’s all about what we can do and things like this – and what you want What’s more important is what you can do, it’s always the same, every year.
“I can’t change my answers – if the solutions were there for us, ready and available, of course we would bring players to help. But we have an existing team as well, and its performance is low, sure, I know that. But I didn’t sit down. I can here and I can blame everyone else, the players, every time, it is my responsibility.
“That’s my job [get them to perform]. We have limited options but here we have players under contract, unavailable. But if we bring players, we can’t bring the Premier League and the Champions League.”
Liverpool struggling Q&A: Injuries, fatigue or finances?
The reason for Liverpool’s struggles is a simple question with many answers.
A number of factors have led to the creation of the current situation, the biggest test that Klopp has faced in his time at Anfield. The coach will point to injuries: he had four strikers missing at Brighton – two of them long-term absences – as well as influential central defender Van Dijk.
Fatigue, both physical and mental, also played a part. Klopp finally admitted on Friday that the 63 games in 2021/22 in which Liverpool won two trophies, almost lifted the Premier League and Champions League, and played every game they qualified for had an impact on his team. Captain Jordan Henderson confirmed after the defeat at Brighton that the players lacked energy and confidence.
Tired? Low energy? How did you come?
Well, at the back of Liverpool’s marathon last season, Brighton’s three midfielders – Henderson (32), Thiago Alcantara (31) and Fabinho (29) – have a combined age of 92. James Milner is 37, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones have missed the campaign through injury while youngster Harvey Elliott has struggled in a poor form side.
So why didn’t Klopp add to his team?
One word: money.
Owners Fenway Sports Group paid £35m to £45m to bring in PSV striker Gakpo this month despite being a distant target as they wanted to fend off interest from other clubs. Klopp wanted Aurelien Tchouameni to strengthen his midfield but the French international chose Real Madrid in the summer.
Midfield remains an area of real need, and it is doubtful FSG will budget for Borussia Dortmund’s bank-breaking Jude Bellingham deal.
What can Klopp do then?
Having ruled out making any signings in this window it looks like he will have to step in.
The return of strikers Firmino and Darwin Nunez to fitness will help but his midfield options are one he has great faith in Keita and Jones and hopes they can revive him.
What are the short-term fixes for their general problems?
Finding a way that isn’t defensively fragile would be a start. Liverpool have conceded the first goal 21 times in their last 35 games and have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since October.
That’s another issue to be found in their midfield shortcomings, but they seemed open enough for opponents to always find opportunities. A change in style may help but Klopp has already made minor adjustments without much success.
Sky Sports’ Lewis Jones:
The light shining so brightly on Liverpool’s defense is now blinding those in the spotlight – yet, focusing only on individuals playing at the heart of the back allows others to escape criticism.
Yes, Joel Matip was at fault for Brighton’s opening goal with a soft pass but up until then, he and Ibrahim Konate had defended with great cohesion and confidence. They simply had to as the pressure on their goal was relentless from a Brighton side who were now searching.
And why have Liverpool’s central defenders been so busy? Well, it came from Liverpool’s midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago, who were playing a formidable role outside of the two strikers. It didn’t matter to him.
Brighton duo Alexis McAllister and Moses Caicedo have made the Liverpool trio one to consider in the Champions League.
Midfield is the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s team – when it’s bad, as it is now, then the attack and the backs suffer. This Liverpool team is not only dysfunctional but is threatening to spiral out of control.