Jurgen Klopp defended himself from criticism amid a difficult season for Liverpool as he insisted he did not become a “bad manager overnight”.
Liverpool are ninth in the Premier League at the season’s halfway point, trailing leaders Arsenal by 21 points and fourth-placed Manchester United – who have played a game extra – by 10.
It is a far cry from last season when they entered the final weeks of the campaign with the possibility of winning four trophies.
They ended up with an FA Cup and EFL Cup double, losing out to Manchester City in the Premier League and Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Liverpool have been badly impacted by injuries throughout the season, while some key players have struggled for form.
A lot of the criticism is falling at the feet of Klopp, but he spoke defiantly ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I didn’t become a bad manager overnight,” Klopp told reporters. “I was never as good as people probably said or not as bad as some people might think.
“But imagine if you [the media] were here today talking to another coach of Liverpool because last season we’d won all four trophies and I said, ‘See you later, [I’m going on] holiday!’.
“Imagine if you saw a different [manager] and he has to explain these things and he tells you how it is. Nobody would listen!
“They’d say last season was great and this year is not great – so go!
Last time out in FA Cup action pic.twitter.com/eANbS0w1iY
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 28, 2023
“You have to have wide shoulders and really just take it. It’s tough, I’m sorry, but we will go for it with all we have to get out of it and then play in a way that the people can’t wait to go to the stadium again.
“Hopefully we can get through this together and get much closer again. From there we all know anything can happen.
“So far, we’ve not given the fans much this season, but we are still in two cup competitions, and we’ll not give up in the league. Why should we?
“Other teams are doing really well and we respect them a lot, but we want to beat them and I will see how we can do that at Brighton.”
Klopp does not want to blame Liverpool’s problems entirely on their injury woes, though at the very least he believes they would be much closer to the top four had the likes of Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota not missed the majority of the season up to now.
“It was clear it would be difficult, but with lesser injuries I think we can agree we could easily have had at least five points more,” he added.
“Okay, that still wouldn’t make a brilliant season, but we would be fighting for the Champions League. That’s a normal season.
“But injuries to decisive players have made it an especially average or bad season so far, and you cannot just replace them.
“On top of that, if you don’t have time to train and you have three days until the next game, it’s not like you can invent football in those one and a half sessions.”
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