I am not too loyal to players: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Amid what is unfolding as a disastrous season, Brighton thrashing the latest proof of decadence, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted that he is not too loyal to his key players. Ahead of the FA Cup tie against Wolves on Tuesday, he said: “I am loyal, I think everyone should be loyal, but I am not too loyal,” the Liverpool manager said.

He then explained his situation: “The problem is too complex. You have a good player who did a lot of good stuff in the past and then maybe, in your mind, you think: ‘That’s it for him now.’ If you can then go out and bring in another player to replace him then it makes sense from both sides to say: ‘Come on, it was a great time, see you later.’ If you cannot bring anybody in then you cannot take anyone out, that’s the situation.”

Two defeats in the last two games have pushed them to ninth on the table, and 19 points adrift of league toppers Arsenal and 10 behind Manchester United at fourth, which means Liverpool’s Champions League qualification prospects too are bleak. The problems have been many, from the slackness of the defence, with their defensive wall Virgil van Dijk not as invulnerable as he once was, and lack of coherence and creativity in the centre of the pitch to rustiness upfront. There is a feeling of a generational end.

With a handful of veterans running out of contract this season, some of them pillars like James Milner and Roberto Firmino, besides Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, an overhaul is expected at the end of this season. But Klopp says he is not thinking too far ahead. “When I left Dortmund I said: ‘Something has to change here.’ It was a different situation there but in a way it’s similar – either I go, the manager position changes, or a lot of other things change. As far as I know, from what I hear, I will not go. So that means maybe there’s a point where we have to change other stuff. And we will see that. But it’s something for the future, like in the summer, but not now.”

The focus, he says, is on how to turn things around with the current team.“We have to play better football now. We cannot play and say: ‘These are problems but next season we don’t have them any more.’ That is really long away. Until then we stick together and we fight. If we lose, we lose, but in a way that we can accept and not: ‘How could that happen?’ he said.

Only last year was Liverpool eyeing a quadruple, but this season they have been swiftly unravelling. The Brighton defeat, the manager insists, was the worst in his career. “I can’t remember a worse game, not only Liverpool. I really can’t. This is a really low point. Brighton were the better team, it was well deserved. They played really well. It was a very organised team against a not very organised team,” he would say.

After the 3-0 defeat, he had criticised his players for not listening to him. “I had an idea to change the formation which was to try to help the team,” said Klopp. “That was the idea. But we never did it properly. We need to be creative with the options we have. What I saw today from my team was that they were not really convinced by it. That’s it,” he said.

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