Jurgen Klopp has defended himself against criticism during a difficult season for Liverpool, insisting he did not become a “bad manager overnight”.
Liverpool are ninth in the Premier League at mid-season, 21 points behind leaders Arsenal, while fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played an extra leg, are 10 points behind.
It’s a far cry from last season when they entered the last weeks of the campaign with four trophies to win.
They ended up winning the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, losing to Manchester City in the Premier League and Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Liverpool have been hit hard by injuries throughout the season while some key players have struggled with form.
A lot of criticism falls on Klopp’s feet, but he was defiant ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I didn’t become a bad coach overnight,” Klopp told reporters. “I was never as good as people probably said, or not as bad as some people think.
But imagine if you [the media] were here today talking to another Liverpool manager because we won all four trophies last season and I said ‘see you later [I’m going on] holiday!’.
“Imagine if you saw another [manager] and he has to explain these things, and he will tell you how it is. Nobody would listen!
“They would say last season was great and this one not so much – so go ahead!
Last time in the FA Cup pic.twitter.com/eANbS0w1iY
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 28, 2023
“You have to have broad shoulders and you really just accept that. It’s tough, I’m sorry, but we’ll do everything in our power to get out of this and then play in a way that people can’t wait to go back to the stadium.
“Hopefully we can get through this together and get a lot closer again. From there, we all know that anything can happen.
“So far this season we have not given much to the fans, but we are still in two cup competitions and we are not going to give up in the league. Why should we?
“Other teams are doing very well and we have a lot of respect for them, but we want to beat them and I’ll see how we can do that in Brighton.”
Klopp doesn’t want to entirely blame Liverpool’s problems on their injury problems, although at least he believes they would have been much closer to the top four if the likes of Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota hadn’t missed out on much of it. season so far.
“It was clear that it would be difficult, but with fewer injuries, I think we can agree that we could easily have scored at least five more points,” he added.
“Okay, it still wouldn’t have made a brilliant season, but we would have been fighting for the Champions League. This is the normal season.
“But the crucial player injuries have made this a particularly average or bad season and you can’t just replace them.
“Besides, if you don’t have time to practice and you have three days until the next game, you won’t be able to invent football in one and a half sessions.”