Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has hit back at rumours suggesting he could walk away from the club and said he is ready for the challenge to turn things around.
Klopp conceded the 2019-20 Premier League champions were out of the title race this season after they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday.
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Liverpool have lost three consecutive league matches and sit 13 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
There were reports that Klopp could leave the club but he was defiant at his news conference ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League clash against RB Leipzig and said his team are prepared to respond to their critics.
“Did I get the sack or did I leave by myself? Neither,” he said. “I don’t need a break. Privately, we had a tough time, that was a much longer time already and we always deal with it as a family 100%.
“I am 53 — I have worked in football for a long time and I can switch off. I don’t carry things around. Nobody has to worry about me.
“I am full of energy, honestly. I see it as an interesting challenge. We will sort it by playing football, we will sort it by fighting with all we have. That’s the plan.
“At the moment, a lot of people are not happy with the results. I get that, but I am responsible for that. It’s a massive challenge. I’m ready, the boys are ready, and we will give our absolute everything to sort it.”
After the Champions League tie, Liverpool face Everton in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Saturday as they seek to remain in the top four places.
Following the defeat at Leicester, Liverpool fans unveiled a banner at the club’s stadium giving their support to Klopp and he said he was pleased to receive their backing.
Jurgen Klopp was in a defiant mood ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League game against RB Leipzig. Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images
“We do this for the people. I feel the responsibility so much when things don’t go well,” he added. “We do it for the people.
“The majority of our people are still — and even more — so with us. I would prefer to fight this fight with our people in the stadium.”
Klopp also confirmed that Naby Keita will miss out on the chance to face his former side on Tuesday due to an injury.
Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also laughed off suggestions that Klopp could leave and said the players needed to perform better.
“The manager is really good in situations like this,” he told a news conference. “In adversity the manager is the one we listen to the most. He is always there for us as players. He tries to protect us as much as possible.
“But deep down we know as players we take full responsibility and it’s down to us to go out on the pitch and change this tough period that we are going through.
“I don’t think I even need to comment on something like that [Klopp exit talk]. Someone is sitting behind a keyboard making rumours up about the manager and players in the dressing room. It’s not true.”
Henderson backed teammate Thiago after his tough start to life at the club. The Spain international suffered an injury in October during the Merseyside derby and has failed to score or assist a goal since his move from Bayern Munich.
“He has been brilliant since he has come to the club,” he added. “Everybody knows how good he is and he is a world-class player. He leads by example and we learn a lot from it. He knows Leipzig more than anyone so he can help us over the next 24 hours.”