Jurgen Klopp has no doubt about what derailed Liverpool’s season in 2020-21 after winning the title at a canter last time around and hopes they have learned a lesson.
Klopp’s men fell off the Premier League pace at the start of 2021 when injuries started to hit the champions’ performances on the pitch. The champions were picking up results despite a few early setbacks. However, the German coach says he knew it would not take much to knock them off their perch because of the strength of their rivals.
Asked what the challenge was this season, Klopp said: “That is easy for us, we had too many injuries in key positions. I know people think that is an excuse. I’m pretty I’ve said this before.
“We lost our entire defence – it felt like we’d broken a leg. But that’s ok you can still limp like that. We had to transform our midfielders into defenders. Then we we broke our spine and it is pretty difficult to move.
“In the beginning when we had the problems we were still winning, but we knew it was along season to come. We knew if anything else happened we would struggle and that is what happened.
“To be in the position we were in two years before we needed to be nearly perfect and in the moment when it’s not – the league is too strong.
“Could we be fifth or fourth and not seventh? Yes – we should have done better in specific moments. But dealing with injuries was the biggest challenge and we could not deal with it as good as we wanted to over the whole season.
“I always try to learn. Did I learn a lot? For sure. The players for sure, that’s clear. That’s the plan, to use the new experience for the future and next season – but you will have have to wait until then to show we really got it.”
Klopp revealed that Jordan Henderson has started running again, although he has not yet joined in team training. Nat Phillips is fit once again and could come straight back into the side to face Southampton.
Klopp sympathy for Man Utd
The Reds boss was also asked about last Sunday’s postponed clash with Manchester United. And Klopp has some sympathy with United who now have three games in five days.
Asked if Liverpool were consulted over the rearranged date, Klopp added: “We had nothing to do with it. I have sympathy [for them] but it was not good for us as well. I would have preferred to play the game last week.
“Now we have five games in two weeks, but it is what it is. It is just the situation. It is not cool, but nothing to complain about.”
Asked about what it was like waiting for the game in the hotel last Sunday, Klopp said: “We were sitting the whole time. An hour before the team meeting they told me there were problems at OT.
“We did the meeting and after that we got told about the delays. We just had to sit around in the lobby. It was not cool.
“Then we got told the game was postponed. We saw some pictures to see what was going on. Surprised to see it happen? No. I am a believer in democracy. I am happy people to tell their opinion. But I know this doesn’t happen often that no-one is hurt.”