Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, has rejected suggestions his current team has reached the end of its useful lifespan and insists judgment should be reserved until the end of the season.
Back-to-back defeats against the English Premier League’s bottom two clubs in Nottingham Forest and Leeds United have been damaging.
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They have left his side closer to the relegation zone than the top four in terms of points.
Liverpool have already lost four times in the league and have taken just two points from matches against Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Everton, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Brighton.
The current starting line-up has one of the oldest average ages in the English Premier League (EPL).
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara are all on the wrong side of 30.
But Klopp insists it is too early to write off his side.
“I think the judgement for this should come later on in the season, or maybe at the end,” he said ahead of the UEFA Champions League visit of Napoli.
“If you say ‘That’s it’ for this group of players or for this manager, I don’t think that’s 100 per cent fair in this moment to judge the team or the squad, because we never had them available.
“We miss players, especially now upfront, we miss top quality which is not helpful.
“Even if it’s unfair, it’s fine. It’s normal, it’s our life and it’s absolutely fair to ask these questions. But we have to answer that later on.”
Klopp said Leeds United’s late winner on Saturday which inflicted their first Premier League defeat at Anfield in front of fans since April 2017 had him waking up at night.
However, he insists he is able to handle the pressure of his most frustrating spell at the club.
Klopp went on to dismiss suggestions —- not for the first time this season —- that he has lost his spark.
“I didn’t read anything but everything will be judged on me and that is absolutely fine,” he added.
“People will look at me and say ‘He looks tired’. That’s normal as well. But I am not. I am not. I cannot give that excuse. (People say) ‘It’s so much for me..’ —- it’s not.
“My job is not only being here in the moment when the sun is shining and someone gives us a trophy.
“My job is as well to be here when we have to go through a really tough period and I will do that with all I have and, if possible, more.
“It is a rough moment, no doubt about that, and no one is flying here and (thinking) life is great. But there is only one chance to face it: go for it and that’s what we will do.”
Klopp has had to contend with a debilitating series of injuries, but that still cannot detract from the fact a number of his players are performing well below their best.
Midfield has been a key area where the high-pressing game which previously protected the defence has dissolved, but the Reds manager denied the players had lost the appetite for the battle. (dpa/NAN)