Jürgen Klopp left frustrated in pursuit of new signings for Liverpool

• ‘The players we want, the clubs don’t sell,’ says Klopp
• Manager asks fans to maintain belief following defeat by Swansea

Jürgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to retain their belief in the midst of an unconvincing start to 2017 and said his transfer plans have been frustrated by clubs refusing to sell prized assets in January.

Liverpool’s 12-month unbeaten record at home in the Premier League came to an unexpected end on Saturday when relegation-threatened Swansea City recorded their first league win at Anfield. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s winner, capitalising on slack defending by Liverpool after they had recovered from two goals down, left Klopp’s team without a victory in three league matches this year and dealt a significant blow to their title prospects. Liverpool were also beaten in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final at Southampton, who come to Anfield for the second leg on Wednesday.

Jürgen Klopp rues defending after Swansea beat Liverpool at Anfield

The Liverpool manager blamed “passive” defending for the Swansea defeat but, having noted the flat atmosphere in the early kick-off at Anfield until Roberto Firmino cancelled out Fernando Llorente’s double, he insisted belief must remain intact despite recent poor results.

Klopp said: “After we equalised the fans believed. Before I’m not sure, but that is how it is. We have to do the job, we know about this 100%, and yes, stay in the race. Mentally, of course, that is important here. I have no problem with this and this, of course, is a hard way. When you win 10 games in a row you are flying and it is easy to believe. When you are in the difficult moments, that’s when you have to stay on track and still believe, and that is what we see. We as a team, 100% no doubt, we still have belief. But around [the fans], we have to see.”

Despite interest in Mahmoud Dahoud of Borussia Mönchengladbach and the Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic, Klopp does not expect to make significant signings this month, although he says it is not for the want of trying. Liverpool’s main business before the transfer deadline could be to offload Mamadou Sakho, who is a target for several Premier League clubs but is proving difficult to move on.

The Liverpool manager said: “I understand it is absolutely normal that people ask whether we should have brought players in. The situation is yes, on the one side pretty simple, but on the other hand it is pretty difficult. It is not that we don’t want to bring players in. We do. But the thing is, the players we want because we think they help us, the clubs don’t sell. It is not about money in this situation, it is the winter transfer window.

“Clubs are saying ‘No, we have half a year to go, we cannot find another player like this, we prefer to take money in the summer than a few pounds more in the winter than whatever’. So it is pretty easy. You see the situation. It’s tight, it’s close, we know that, but if the right decision is not possible in signing the right player then you cannot make the wrong transfer.

“It is not as if there are 20 players out there who could make this team stronger, who are running around and are available. That is the situation. That is why I say we know the situation, we are prepared to move, but for the right player. We are not the only side who can decide the outcome of that, though, are we? The selling club makes the decision too.”

Swansea’s victory lifted them out of the relegation zone and also featured two goals from the Chelsea target Llorente. Paul Clement said: “In my first game at Crystal Palace he showed his qualities with his back to goal, bringing other players into play, and if you give him the right service he will score goals but you have got to give him service. Am I afraid to lose him? I want to keep him and the reason is what he showed against Liverpool.”


Andy Hunter

The GuardianTramp

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