Jürgen Klopp has conceded it would be a big achievement for Liverpool to finish in the top four this season but insists his squad is not in urgent need of an overhaul.
Liverpool are five points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham after a run of four successive defeats that has left the champions sixth. Klopp claims he relishes the challenge of rescuing Liverpool’s campaign. “I am not here only for the big celebrations,” he said. “I am here for the work. And if it is the dirty work, the hard work, no problem.”
That task has been further complicated by the loss of Jordan Henderson for six to eight weeks after the Liverpool captain underwent surgery on an adductor injury sustained in the defeat by Everton. Henderson will miss at least five Liverpool matches plus England’s World Cup qualifying triple header next month. Klopp accepts that, given Liverpool’s problems on and off the pitch, it would be an accomplishment for a squad that cruised to the title to qualify for next season’s Champions League via the domestic route.
“It would be big, absolutely,” the manager said. “You can see the competitors. It is not about the possible performance, it is about what we can bring on the pitch still. It is all about results. The table doesn’t lie. Never. We know that points-wise we are not that far away but results-wise we are.
“That is what we have to change and for all the different reasons it was a difficult season so far for us. We try with all we have to sort it and while we try and sort one problem another problem occurs. That is how it is.”
Liverpool’s fall has invited scrutiny regarding several established first-choice players and the depth of Klopp’s squad. But he insists it is inaccurate to judge a squad severely weakened by injuries all season, and denies a major rebuild is necessary.
“What is a ‘rebuild’ exactly?” Klopp said. “Ten out and 10 in? Changes to what starting XI? I don’t think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it: six, seven out, running contracts but trying to get rid of them and bring in all the new faces. The squad of this year didn’t have the chance to play together one time really.
“I think it would make sense to have a look at that but on top of that of course little readjustments will happen. We need to react on the situation but at the same time plan for the future. I am not sure we can do that in the summer but that is what we will try.”
Klopp could have Diogo Jota back for the visit to Sheffield United on Sunday after the Portugal international resumed full training on Wednesday after a knee injury. But he cautioned: “Diogo trained twice this week and looks very good but it’s been a long time so we have to see.”
Fabinho and James Milner are not due back in training until Saturday after muscle injuries and Klopp said no decision had been taken on Alisson’s availability for Sunday. The Liverpool keeper’s father, José, drowned this week in Brazil.