Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool’s problems this season are not down to a seven-year failure, despite failing to make it to an eighth season in two previous jobs.
This weekend marks the anniversary of the German’s appointment as Brendan Rodgers’ successor in 2015. Klopp left Mainz and Borussia Dortmund after seven seasons, with his last campaign at Dortmund particularly painful, with the club in the relegation zone at Christmas before eventually recovering. finish seventh.
After a shaky start this season, having drawn four and lost one of their first seven matches, comparisons have in some cases been drawn to his record in Germany. However, Klopp was adamant that there was no correlation between any of his performances and he had no problems with fatigue.
“The situation in the clubs was really different. The seven-year period is not planned, either because I lost energy or something like that,” he said. “I was a manager at Mainz and three years later we were promoted to the Bundesliga and three years later we were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga. We tried another year and the club needed a change, players left us for the Bundesliga, so they had to start all over again.
“I was full of energy, I went straight to Dortmund and everything was fine. It’s been seven years and the situation has simply developed that players were constantly being bought by other clubs. It was very hard work, constantly taking two steps back. It was very intense and very exhausting, so I said we should stop it here, but I had no energy problems, not at all.
“I have absolutely no problems with energy, but here the situation is completely different. I can understand that I left after seven years [previously] and now we are in a difficult situation and people perceive it [view] but if you think carefully, you realize that the situation is completely different.
“Yes, it’s a difficult time. Did I think before the season that we would be ninth after the seventh game day? No, because I don’t think about those things. But now this is the basis, let’s get out of here.”
Where Liverpool go next remains to be seen. They are 11 points behind Sunday’s opponents Arsenal, while Manchester City look ominous after Erling Haaland’s excellent goalkilled feats for the defending champions. Klopp admits that the title bid may not be on his side, but that won’t stop them from trying to regain lost ground.
“We still have a chance to create something really special from now on,” he added. “Does it look at the moment that we will be champions at the end of the year? Unfortunately, no. But in every other competition we’re still unrelegated and nobody knows where we’ll end up in the league, so let’s give it a shot. Is it difficult? yes. Is it impossible? No, that’s enough.”
In addition to their defensive difficulties Liverpool have yet to see the ultra-reliable Mohamed Salah – a Golden Boot winner in three of his five seasons at the club – hit his best form. It was brought into sharp focus by Haaland’s exploits, but Klopp said the comparison was unfair.
“Nobody in the world can handle Haaland’s situation at the moment, it’s crazy what he’s doing,” the Reds manager said. “He’s an exceptional player in an exceptional team and it obviously works well together and I don’t think we should compare anyone to that.
“You can say whatever you want about Mo and is his season here? Not like for all of us. But even if the scoring numbers aren’t that crazy [for Salah] how often does he participate? He wants to score goals, absolutely, desperately, 100%, which has never changed. Call him 20 years from now and it’s bound to be the same.”
There was bad news for Klopp on the injury front, with Artur Melo, the midfielder signed on loan from Juventus on deadline day, undergoing surgery on a thigh injury this weekend. He will be out of action for three to four months.