EPL

Klopp 'a much better manager' after dealing with Liverpool's injury crisis

By Sports Desk March 04, 2021

Jurgen Klopp claims he has become "a much better manager" after learning to cope with Liverpool's injury crisis.

The Reds boss made the assertion as he hit back at those who accuse him of making excuses for his side's slump.

Liverpool stormed to the title with 99 points last season - the second-highest tally ever - but have dropped off massively this term and are in a battle for a top-four finish ahead of Thursday's clash with Chelsea.

Klopp has had to constantly chop and change his defence due to long-term injuries sustained by Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez - integral members of last season's title-winning side - early in the campaign.

Fellow centre-back Joel Matip was ruled out for the season in late January, while makeshift defenders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have also struggled for fitness, the latter undergoing surgery last week that will keep him out until at least April.

Liverpool brought in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak in the January transfer window, though their arrivals coincided with Liverpool losing four home games in a row in the Premier League - their worst such run at Anfield in 98 years.

But "detail fanatic" Klopp, who has regularly bemoaned Liverpool's injury luck this term, believes he and his players can grow stronger from the experience.

"Most of the problems are as a result of the injury situation," he told Sky Sports. "This year we have faced completely new problems. I have never in my life - and I have been doing the job for 20 years - had to change the last line every week.

"I am a much better manager this season than I was before because usually you are not having to think about these things, but now I am having to think about them constantly.

"We had a situation on Friday night. We trained all week, or the few days that we had to train, with one specific line-up and then overnight we had to change it completely.

"That is another big thing to do that is common in football but we have had it plenty of times.

"People might say that is an excuse. I could not care less, to be honest. We do not use it as an excuse but if you ask me the question then it is the explanation for why things changed.

"We are all detail fanatics and it is very important that the little things work really well because then they become really influential on the bigger picture. Very often, that means the way you defend.

"You work on it but you do not change it too much because defending is something where stability is really important. And we have had to change our defence way too often to have any kind of stability, that is the truth."

He added: "I am not angry about it or whatever, I am 53 years old. I have had different moments in my life. Wonderful moments, lesser moments. It is just a football problem."

Liverpool can move into the Premier League top four with victory at home to Chelsea and are 2-0 up against RB Leipzig ahead of next week's Champions League last-16 second leg.

Klopp, under contract at Anfield until 2024, can see signs of recovery but accepts results have to improve if supporters are to feel the same way.

"The problem is that football is all about results and if these little things that are better than before do not lead to better results, then people do not want to hear about them," he said.

"If we are winning 15 or 20 games in a row, people listen to me and say, 'Oh my god, what kind of genius stuff is he saying'.

"When we are not winning games, I can say exactly the same things and people will say, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, just make sure you win the game'."

Related items

  • Chelsea striker Lukaku returns to Inter in loan deal Chelsea striker Lukaku returns to Inter in loan deal

    Romelu Lukaku has returned to Inter on loan after a disappointing first season back at Chelsea.

    The Belgium striker only scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances after his club-record £97.5million move back to Stamford Bridge last August.

    Lukaku's second spell at Chelsea took another turn for the worse when he said stated in an interview with Sky Italia late last year that he was not happy with his role at the London club.

    The  29-year-old declared: "I know I will return to Inter, I really hope so. I am in love with Italy."

    He has now got his wish, sealing a switch back to San Siro for the 2022-23 season less than a year after leaving for a huge fee.

    "We're back baby. I'm very happy, thanks for the compliments. Remember three years ago, we were here? We're back," he said in a social media video alongside Inter chairman Steven Zhang.

    Asked by Zhang whether he promises to 'score lots of goals at San Siro', he added: "That's what we're here for. I keep my promises."

    Lukaku will try and help Inter wrestle back the Serie A title from city rivals Milan after he played a huge part in their Scudetto triumph in the 2020-21 season, scoring 24 goals in 32 league games.

    During his previous two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

    The former Manchester United and Everton frontman formed a fearsome partnership with Lautaro Martinez under Antonio Conte as Inter lifted their first league title in 11 years.

    Lukaku is likely to also be joined by forward Paulo Dybala, who will reportedly join Simone Inzaghi's side after leaving Juventus as a free agent.

  • Torreira: 'No chance' of Arsenal stay despite transfer collapse Torreira: 'No chance' of Arsenal stay despite transfer collapse

    Lucas Torreira has declared there is "no chance" he will stay at Arsenal despite seeing a permanent switch to Fiorentina fall through.

    The Uruguayan midfielder spent last season on loan with the Serie A side but the club refused to meet Arsenal's €15 million (£12.6m) buy option, which was included as part of his loan agreement.

    Torreira took to social media to hit out at those "acting in a bad way", after the move to Fiorentina collapsed and left the 26-year-old with an uncertain future as he heads into the final year of his deal with Mikel Arteta's side.

    However, Torreira has made it clear there is no chance of a U-turn and an Arsenal stay as he eyes a permanent exit from the Emirates Stadium.

    "There is no chance. From the beginning they told me that I didn't have a place," he told El Telegrafo.

    "I don't want to stay either because I suffered a lot, it cost me a lot to adapt and my idea is to go to Italy or Spain.

    "What I wanted was to stay at Fiorentina, but it didn't happen for various reasons, so we'll look for a new direction."

    A return to Boca Juniors has been touted for the midfielder and he addressed those rumours, adding: "Boca is very difficult.

    "It was difficult after what happened to my mother and I really wanted to go there, then I had a very good season and I have one year left on my contract with Arsenal.

    "Any team that wants me has to buy me, which would be around €15m, so that's why I see it as difficult, although I never lose hope. I feel a lot of love for that club and at some point I would like to play there."

    Torreira joined Arsenal in 2018 but dropped down the pecking order after an ankle injury in March 2020. He spent the 2020-21 season on loan with Atletico Madrid before his stint with Fiorentina last term.

  • Lukaku arrives in Milan ahead of Inter return Lukaku arrives in Milan ahead of Inter return

    Romelu Lukaku has arrived in Milan as he prepares to complete a return to former club Inter.

    Lukaku began a second stint at Chelsea last August after the Blues broke their transfer record to bring him back to the Premier League for £97.5million (€115m).

    But he was unable to recapture the form that persuaded Chelsea to secure his return, with injuries initially derailing his adaptation.

    Lukaku then struggled to suitably fit into Thomas Tuchel's tactical setup, with Kai Havertz ultimately preferred to the Belgian in attack towards the end of the season.

    His relationship with Chelsea and the club's fans was not helped by an interview he did with Sky Sports in December, during which he revealed frustration at his first few months back at Stamford Bridge and professed his love for Inter.

    Ever since, rumours of a potential return to San Siro have not gone away, and in the past few weeks a deal has looked likely.

    Reports recently began to suggest the two clubs had agreed a deal for Lukaku to return to Inter on loan for the upcoming 2022-23 season, and it would appear confirmation is imminent.

    Lukaku was filmed leaving Milan airport on Wednesday, posing for photographs with an Inter scarf before getting into a car.

    Inter are reportedly set to pay at least €8m (£6.9m) to take Lukaku on loan for the season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.