Jürgen Klopp has pinned Liverpool’s problems on a physical and mental hangover from last season while insisting he has no doubt the team will recover.
Liverpool are seven points adrift of Champions League qualification before Saturday’s awkward assignment at Brighton and were fortunate to draw with Wolves in the FA Cup third round at Anfield last Saturday. Klopp will be without the forwards Roberto Firmino, Luis Díaz, Diogo Jota and possibly Darwin Núñez and does not expect any more incomings this month.
The Liverpool manager denied repeatedly earlier in the season that the previous campaign’s exertions in pursuit of a quadruple, and the disappointment of missing out on the Premier League title and Champions League in the final week, had taken a toll. With injuries mounting and performances below par, however, he now believes that is the case.
“Could anybody know how the last season of 63 games could influence this season?” said Klopp. “I don’t think anybody could know. It must have. We can say that now. We had holiday, not too much, there were games here and the boys all looked fine. Then it started with Diogo coming back from international duty and getting injured and then bam, bam, bam. Luis twice, Darwin suspended and now injured. Earlier in the season midfielders were not available so we brought in Arthur [Melo] who then got injured. There is a lot of bad luck.
“Would I do anything different? I wouldn’t go in the first week [of pre-season] to Asia. Not because Asia is not great but I would go in the third week to Asia. It was not really in our hands. Things get decided and we deal with it. Would it be better to have done it differently? Yes. We played until the last match day. We planned the pre-season long before that.
“We were in a super-positive mood, we could have won everything and then all of a sudden we don’t win everything. Just because we are Liverpool doesn’t mean we are not allowed to have problems. When you are Liverpool and the distance to the Champions League gets bigger then it feels like you are bottom of the table but thank God we are not. There are a lot of games to come and players to come back.”
Klopp insisted solutions to Liverpool’s issues did not lie in the transfer market and that his squad was capable of another strong second half to a season.
“We are not here just for the sensational moments and great finals,” he said. “There are times you have to get through as well and you learn from it and you go again for everything and that will definitely happen. It’s not easy for one second in the whole season but we always found a way back because we stuck together.”