Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said it is too soon to write off his side as they prepare to face Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday. The Anfield outfit have lost four games in the Premier League already this season and sit ninth in the table.
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But they have already secured their spot in the Champions League last 16, although they trail Napoli by three points in Group A. Klopp’s side would have to win by four goals at Anfield to overtake the Italians as Luciano Spalletti’s side have a far superior goal difference.
In the build-up to the game, Klopp defended his team’s poor start to the season. Liverpool have won just four of their first 12 Premier League games and are 15 points behind leaders Arsenal – and eight shy of a top-four place.
Klopp has his say on Liverpool
“I think the judgment for this should come later on in the season, or maybe at the end,” said Klopp.
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“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.”
While injuries have played a part in their poor start to the season, key players are also underperforming.
Liverpool are currently without forwards Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, while Andy Robertson, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara and Darwin Nunez have all been unavailable at times during the first few months of the campaign.
“We miss players, especially now up front, we miss top quality, which is not helpful,”Jurgen Klopp
“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.”
Back-to-back defeats against the Premier League’s bottom two clubs Nottingham Forest and Leeds mean questions are being asked about Klopp’s Liverpool squad.
Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara are all over 30 and Liverpool’s squad has one of the highest average ages in the Premier League.
“It’s not a quick fix but we will not stop fighting,’ said Klopp. “People look at me and they say ‘he looks tired’ or whatever but I’m not.
“I cannot give that excuse. My job is not only to be here when the sun is shining and somebody gives us a trophy.