Jurgen Klopp insists his famed Gegenpressing style is not to blame for Liverpool’s January slump.
Klopp’s men head into Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Championship side Wolves on the back of a sapping week that saw Premier League strugglers Swansea City secure a thrilling 3-2 win at Anfield before Southampton claimed an EFL Cup final place at Liverpool’s expense.
Since a battling 1-0 win over Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, Liverpool have won one of their last seven matches in all competitions – their third-round replay at Plymouth Argyle after the League Two side held them to a 0-0 draw in the opening fixture.
While Klopp acknowledges tiredness might have been a factor, he lays the blame at the door of a hectic English schedule rather than with his intensive training and playing methods.
“The Man City game was very intense, 121kilometers running [collectively],” the former Borussia Dortmund boss told reporters.
“It’s not that I said before the game, ‘Come on, it’s City, let’s do the 120km mark, yeah?’ It’s not like this.
“If the intensity of the last game is that big, and then you play Sunderland two days later, it’s a completely different game. We were kind of tired in mind.
“The next game was Plymouth when we changed the team. We changed a lot against Leeds in the EFL Cup too and played wonderful football because everybody was fresh, and they could show how good they are, but in this game they couldn’t show exactly how good they are.
“The [training] reports didn’t change. They show that physically they are still as high in all parts as they were before, especially in distance.
“The games are different so there are sometimes fewer sprints to do. You can sprint with the ball, but where do you want to sprint? It makes no sense.”
Indeed, Klopp believes poor decision making has been behind Liverpool’s most recent setbacks.
“It’s completely different when you play United, City or Swansea,” he added.
“It’s not a fitness problem until now. We didn’t play that well but we could have won games. We could have won against United, we could have beaten Swansea, so it’s not about the things you can measure. Football is about decision making.
“You have to make the right decision at the right moment, and obviously we didn’t do that often enough. We don’t look for excuses. We are 100 per cent sure it’s our responsibility.
“We don’t run less, we don’t invest less. One or two games, we created less, that’s right, and that comes back to decision making, playing the right pass because we didn’t see him, but it’s still a process.”
Liverpool must quickly try to rediscover top form when they host Premier League leaders Chelsea on Tuesday and Klopp hopes similar slumps will come to afflict their title rivals over the coming weeks.
“When you stop flying in one moment, then it’s hard work to get back into this mood. That’s our situation,” he added.
“Other teams will have the situation and we hope we will have already sorted it. It’s not a bigger thing. It was not good enough in a few moments in the last few games and that changed the results completely.”
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