Jürgen Klopp says he has the energy to turn things around at Liverpool before the end of the season but needs to get his players back to their best after a poor campaign.
The latest opportunity for Liverpool to kickstart their season comes on Sunday when the Premier League leaders, Arsenal, are the first visitors to Anfield since the 7-0 win against Manchester United, with the hosts having collected one point from the three subsequent away matches. The Gunners sit 29 points ahead of Klopp’s side, having played a game more, a sign of how far Liverpool have slipped from being title challengers.
“I have no problem with re-energising, this is part of the job,” Klopp said. “If I ever doubted myself after losing games of football, it would have been tricky for me at the start. It isn’t a problem.
“I never thought I am the best manager in the world – and now I don’t think I am the worst. It’s just a situation we have to get through. I know a lot about football and I know a lot about human beings, and I know that sometimes you just need time in a world where we’re not given any time.”
Klopp admits that none of his players are reaching the level that has taken Liverpool to five major trophies plus the European Super Cup during his reign. They are battling to qualify for Europe and have been eliminated from all cup competitions.
“In the long term these moments make me a better manager, definitely,” Klopp said. “For me and the rest of the coaching staff, this will make us better. That hasn’t kicked in yet but we have to do what is right and help the boys to become the best version of themselves again. We were there for a long time – and we will be there again. That’s the job I have to do.”
Few players can take much credit from Liverpool’s season, especially for their efforts on the pitch, but Diogo Jota can for what he has overcome off it. A hamstring and then a calf injury kept the Portugal international out for a combined total of more than five months, forcing him to miss the World Cup. “[He is a] super mature boy,” Klopp said. “Dealing well with difficulties and setbacks. It’s pretty impressive for his age.”
He is yet to score for Liverpool in 19 appearances this season – his last club goal coming a year ago on Monday – but set up Mohamed Salah’s opening goal at Manchester City last weekend and was one of five players to keep their place for the draw at Chelsea. “I think Diogo has done really well since he’s come back because he was really injured [for a long time] and for that level of performance he produced I really liked.”
Jota is one of a number of players to hamper Klopp’s plans because of injury but the treatment table is clearing. “Diogo is a really good player and we’ve missed him a lot during the season. This year is not a year that he will remember as the best of his life because he was injured for the majority of it.”