Jürgen Klopp has said he sympathises with Liverpool fans who expected the team to be “flying again” this season but insists their form is not as poor as has been portrayed.
Liverpool have endured their worst start to a Premier League season for a decade and are 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal following defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Klopp’s problems continued after the game with Luis Díaz ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury, Trent Alexander-Arnold for a fortnight with an ankle problem and Joel Matip facing two weeks out with a calf injury.
Jordan Henderson is also subject of an Football Association investigation into an alleged incident with Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes but Klopp maintains his captain is in the right frame of mind to face Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Klopp believes three major decisions went against Liverpool on Sunday – claiming Bukayo Saka was offside in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal, his team should have had a penalty for a handball by Gabriel and Saka’s match-winning spot-kick should not have been awarded.
Speaking in Glasgow ahead of the Rangers tie, Klopp derided former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann for suggesting the team have “lost their spark” and are showing problematic signs this season. “A fantastic source, well respected everywhere,” said the Liverpool manager, sarcastically. “That [being a former Liverpool player] does not give you the right to say what you want, especially when you have no idea. I actually think Didi Hamann does not deserve that you use his phrase (spark) to ask a question.”
Klopp admits there is no quick-fix to Liverpool’s problems but, given his team can take a significant step closer to the Champions League knock-out stage with victory at Ibrox, he believes criticism of their form and predicament has been exaggerated.
The Liverpool manager said: “This is a tough situation but it is also a challenge. We always face challenges but we go for it and I am sorry to all our people who expected that after last season we go again and fly again and compete for everything. And now it is not the case. I cannot promise that we will fly tomorrow but we will fight, definitely, until someone tells us the fight is over. That is all we can promise. It hasn’t got easier since Sunday because of the injuries but the team I saw today in training I liked a lot. So let’s give it a go.”