The words of Liverpool players in the build-up to a massive game against Tottenham Hotspur have been filled with focus, determination, and ambition. There seems to be plenty of fight left in a group that dropped outside of the top four for the first time since September. Only 14 Premier League games remain after a tortuous January and a harrowing start to February, and Liverpool yet to win a league game.
Liverpool’s form has brought criticism of Jürgen Klopp, FSG, the players, the transfer strategy, and leadership within the squad. The collapse in form this year has not yet undone much of the excellent work in the first half of the season but leaves little margin for error between now and May. Klopp, as is his way, had much to say on the situation at hand.
“I am the guy who’s responsible. It’s down to me,” Klopp said. “I don’t sit at home and criticise myself and take a bath in self-pity. I know about the things that I did. I did all the things I did because I was convinced they were right. Did I have another alternative? I’m not sure. It’s not about finding them.
“I’m sure a lot of people will have criticised me. That’s absolutely fine as long as there is a point in the week where you think: ‘Okay! Enough. Let’s go again!’ We have to accept that we cannot be champions this year. But there is still everything else to go for. The second Holy Grail? That’s what we have to fight for. We have to go for it.
“It is all the more difficult with these results in your bag but, as long as we accept it, that is part of the job. You win? Everything is good, unbelievable! You lose? Oh my God! It’s too much too. We have to stay in the middle. The boys are still really good players. I am still an absolutely okay manager. That didn’t change because of a few bad results.”
Listen to the words of the manager; a difficult period hasn't eroded the qualities of the manager and his players. They will and should keep fighting as all is not lost. Believing in times of strife will always be the true test for those who claim to have bought into Jürgen Klopp as Liverpool manager. It would be a pity to see self-confessed believers change their colours at the first sign of trouble.