Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted “nobody has to worry about me” amid a slump from the Premier League champions coinciding with a difficult time in his personal life.
The Reds will attempt to arrest a run of three successive top-flight losses which has led to Klopp admitting their title defence is over when they resume their Champions League campaign against RB Leipzig in Budapest on Tuesday.
A banner of support for Klopp, whose mother Elisabeth died aged 81 last month, was erected outside Anfield at the weekend, although there were rumours that the German was planning to take a break or even quit his post – something he was quick to deny.
Here is every word of Klopp’s press conference on Monday…
Life is so strange at the moment and there is only football at the moment so the scrutiny is as high as it ever is, so, how are you?
Football for you might be the only thing that is happening, but there is a lot of other stuff going around, politics and private things. I am ok, we had a training session, an analysis meeting, both were really positive. We are close to fly to Budapest for the first time in my life and so we are absolutely OK and ready to go.
How would you sum up the mood of players?
Like you would imagine. Nobody is ignoring the facts, result-wise but my job is to do what is important. We have to keep the good things going. The games against Leicester and City were not ones you would imagine we concede seven and score two. Things went against us because we made individual mistakes. We speak about them but that is how it is as human beings, you make mistakes. We are always together in these moments but the performance, we have to keep going, we have to play good football to win. The mood is ab ok and we are still ready for a proper fight.
Why aren’t Liverpool winning at the moment? injuries? tiredness?
So many people spoke about it so someone must have got it right. If you see the situation you follow all the problems since the season start. It is a mix of different things that happen. Now is not the time to explain it. We had not so good games and in the last games we play more than… MU in the cup played a really good game, then two really good away games and then started losing again but Brighton we lost slightly unlucky and they were good and the next two games we were really good. We made mistakes, it was about individual mistakes , before that there were some other reasons, injuries played a big part, changed everything. A football team is like building a house, if something is not right the wind comes straight through it. We are Liverpool nobody is happy with being fourth and level on points with Everton.
Hear about the banners to support you, and the rumours about your position?
“So I heard about both. The banner is nice, obviously, but not necessary. I don’t feel that I need special support at the moment but it’s nice.
“What were the rumours again? Did I get the sack or did I leave by myself? Neither nor. I don’t need a break.
“Look, the last thing I want to do is talk about private things in a press conference. But everyone knows that privately we have been through an absolutely tough time, but that was not just three weeks ago. That was a much longer time already. We always deal with it as a family, 100 percent.
“I’m 53. I have been in football 30 years. I have been a coach for 20. I can split things. I can switch off, one thing from the other thing. I do not carry things around. If I am private, I’m private. If it is football and it is the work place, I am here.
“Of course, I’m influenced by things that are happening around me but nobody needs to worry about me. I might not look like this – because the weather is not cool, I’m white and the beard gets more and more grey. All these kind of things. Yes, I don’t sleep a lot and my eyes look like this but it’s all fine. I’m full of energy – honestly.
The situation is a challenge. I don’t want to have the situation but the situation is an interesting challenge. Nobody wrote a book about how you came into a situation like this and how did you solve it.
But we will sort it. Please, while we are doing it, everybody it could be tricky. But sorting it by playing football, sorting it by sticking even more together. Sorting it by fighting with all you have, sorting it by learning more than you have learned in each season before. Yeah, that’s actually the plan we have.
“Look strange things happen injury-wise. If someone comes to me and tells me that we have a player with a minor problem, I know it is going to a central defender. That’s how it is all the time, it’s unbelievable. That’s the whole season like this. I dont know why this happens.
We have learned a lot. Ok, I understand that a lot of people are not happy with results. I get that. I am responsible for it. 100pc But we still played some pretty good stuff. You can forget that but we cannot because that is the start of changing things. If you change a situation like we are in with bad football? I’ve never heard of that.
You need results but we are Liverpool. We cannot sit back and wait like some other teams until 60 minutes before we go over the halfway line. We have to be dominant. And we will do that. A massive challenge. I am ready. The boys are ready. We will give our absolute everything to sort it.
Thanks for all the support. I don’t really see it but people tell me about it. I’m very grateful about it but people can worry about other things because nobody has to worry about me.
Nice to get reminder of support?
“Of course it’s nice. I feel the responsibility so much when things don’t go well. I don’t want any praise for that. It’s all fine. We do it for the people.
“The majority of our people are still with us. Maybe even more so. It’s nice to feel that, but I would prefer to fight this fight with our people in the stadium. That’s when you can show real unity.
“If the stadium was now full for the next 10 games, I would really love to fight together against it. Now, we fight in different places. But knowing about the support is great.”
Julian is an extraordinary talent, he is still young, he has still proven virtually everything you can prove as a manager, he is talented and seems fresh but is also v experienced and serious and has a varied profile in terms of his teams and how they play. He has an eye for players, how to play them, where to deal with them and just an outstanding manager and in the future when we are still old, he will be even better. When we concentrate on other things in our lives, he will be a major actor in football. We had a chat this week and he seemed v relaxed happy. Of course I want to beat him but I will keep an eye on his career.
He is no longer injured but he is not fit. He was in training yesterday but he is not ready yet. We will be away for two days and he will be in training. He would have liked to be there against Leipzig. He has had some v great spells but he has had too many injuries. He has played some really great games, scored important goals. These injuries were minor things but kicked him out of the team but he has an excellent perspective, he is a great player. When these injuries are behind him, we will have a great player. Friendly match, I am not in charge of these things but I presume it will happen once these things are over.
Contact with Nagelsmann – how? Rangnick, Liverpool 50-50?
Uefa organised the contact with me and Julian and to everyone by request, it was a Zoom chat but I am quite happy with 50-50, if we go full throttle then I think 65 percent likelihood of winning might be appropriate. 50-50 I can live with and Leipzig as a underdog I don’t know. They go full throttle as well. This is a knockout stage so someone has to be knocked out and we will do everything that we will not be the ones and we will continue.
Nagelsmann said CL last chance of silverware for you, more dangerous because of that?
The lack of supporters doesn’t play a role, we have been doing it for a while it is not new but it will not change. Is Leipzig still in the German Cup? So we only have one chance of winning silverware and they have two at least. If you are in the last 16 of the CL you want to go to the QF of course and that is our plan. Last 16 means the 16b best teams in Europe and we are part of it. What is cool about football is no matter what the outcome of the previous match you have the same chance. We know how difficult it is against Leipzig, we assume they know how difficult it is against us.