LONDON – Jurgen Klopp claims criticism of Liverpool’s recent struggles is unjustified because their poor run is just a temporary blip.
Klopp’s side crashed out of the League Cup at Leicester on Tuesday to extend their winless run to four matches in all competitions.
Liverpool have conceded the first goal in their last four games, resulting in two draws and two defeats, and that defensive vulnerability has been compounded by an inability to convert a significant number of chances.
Thrashed 5-0 at Manchester City before frustrating home draws against Sevilla and Burnley, Liverpool return to Leicester this weekend with injury concerns over defenders Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.
In the circumstances, some critics have predicted another dispiriting defeat against the Foxes.
Reds boss Klopp admits Liverpool are far from the finished article, but he believes the situation is not as bad as portrayed.
“It sounds like we have no points and are completely the worst team in the league,” he said on Thursday.
“Yes we have problems, that is why we ‘only’ have eight points and not 15. We can make it more serious than it is or we can take it like it is.
“I understand 100 percent why we sit here and talk about the things that have happened.
“I know already about all these problems, and I’ve made my decision already how to work with it, but if I talk a lot about it, I only create headlines: ‘Klopp says this. Klopp says that’, and it doesn’t help us.
“We have work to do, but that would be the same if we had 15 points, only it would feel different, but it would be the same. We conceded the first goal against Sevilla and responded really well, we conceded the first goal against Burnley and responded really well.”
"We will fight." 🔴 pic.twitter.com/b3mppglyA3
Given Liverpool’s failure to win games they have dominated, questions have been asked about whether Klopp has the right sort of characters in his squad.
There are no longer the likes of Anfield icons Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to rally the players, but Klopp was quick to defend his current group.
“Yes, we have the right characters. Yes, sometimes we react really well, sometimes we don’t react perfectly,” he said. “That is how it always is and we can improve on each part of our game. Character is nothing fixed.
“Someone says you cannot improve on this, you cannot change your mentality, but of course you can.”