‘I don’t need a break’: Klopp defiant amid Liverpool slump

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Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp watches his players during warm up prior to the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — In his most challenging period as Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp put on a show of defiance Monday in outlining how he plans to turn his side’s stuttering season around.

Klopp struck a downbeat tone following the 3-1 loss at Leicester on Saturday, conceding his team would not be retaining the Premier Leagueafter falling 13 points behind first-place Manchester City.

Liverpool is on a run of only two wins in 10 matches and has lost three straight league games for the first time since Klopp arrived in 2015.

It has also been a difficult time for the German coach personally with his mother, Elisabeth, dying last month at the age of 81 after contracting COVID-19. He was unable to attend the funeral in his native country because of travel restrictions.

Liverpool fans hung a banner on the gates outside Anfield on Sunday, with the message: “Jurgen Klopp YNWA” — shorthand for the club’s motto, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

He said he appreciated the gesture but was not in need of any “special support.”

“I don’t need a break,” Klopp said, dismissing speculation he was contemplating quitting Liverpool.

“I can split things, I can switch off, one thing and the other thing, I don’t carry things around,” he added. “Of course we are influenced by things that happen around but nobody has to worry about me or whatever. I might not look (fine) because the weather is not cool, the beard gets more and more grey, I don’t sleep a lot, my eyes look like this, but I am full of energy.”

With Liverpool already out of the two domestic cup competitions, the Champions League is the only trophy the Reds can win this season. They play Leipzig in Budapest on Tuesday in the first leg of their last-16 match.

Addressing Liverpool’s poor form, Klopp said it was an “interesting challenge.”

“Nobody wrote a book about it, about how you come into a situation like this and how you solve it, but we will sort it,” he said. “Please, everyone, we will sort it. It could be tricky but we will sort it by playing football, sort it by sticking even more together, sort it by fighting with all we have. Sort it by learning more than you can learn in each season.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said Klopp comes into his own in periods of adversity.

“He is always there for us and tries to protect us the most but as players we take full responsibility,” Henderson said. “There are no question marks over the manager and how he reacts after games. He handles situations like that really well and that is why we want to go out there and put in a performance.”

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

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