Jurgen Klopp has apologised to Liverpool supporters as they approach the end of a challenging season, saying he is “100 per cent responsible for this rubbish”.
After coming close to completing the quadruple last season, Liverpool have experienced a dramatic regression and currently lie eighth in the Premier League – 29 points behind league leaders Arsenal, who visit Anfield on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Klopp’s side also relinquished the Carabao Cup title they won last year and will hand over the FA Cup too after being knocked out in the fourth round, while they exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage amid a 5-2 thrashing by Real Madrid at Anfield.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports ahead of the meeting with Arsenal, Klopp said: “I’m sorry for our people, that they don’t have the season they wished for. But in the long term they will forget that.”
Klopp also dismissed any suggestions that he did not need to apologise given he has lifted six major trophies as Liverpool manager, saying: “I couldn’t care less what we did last year or the years before. I’m 100 per cent responsible for this rubbish and it’s really not cool.”
However, Klopp extended his gratitude to the Liverpool fans for the support they have continued to offer the team and expressed his belief that the club will emerge from their struggles in a “classy manner”.
“I know everybody can express their emotions in an instant and there will be a lot of negative comments about us – I understand that,” said Klopp. “But the people in the stadium are incredible.
“You see things happening at other clubs, not only sackings but teams against owners, fans against owners, fans against the team – I’ve seen it all.
“But if anyone can get through a situation like this in a classy manner, I really think it’s us as a club.”
Liverpool’s pursuit of four trophies last season saw them play a remarkable 63 matches and Klopp admitted the “intensity” of that campaign has perhaps played a role in his side’s drop-off this time round.
Klopp also pointed to Chelsea – who played 61 games last season – as a team that are lacking confidence, and even highlighted Manchester City – who played 56 – as a team who have not quite hit the levels they produced 12 months ago.
Premier League performance after 28 games
|2nd place, 66 points
|8th place, 43 points
|3rd place, 59 points
|11th place, 38 points
|1st place, 69 points
|2nd place, 64 points
“What you’ve seen this year is that a lot of teams that performed last year on an extremely high level are not exactly there,” explained Klopp. “Even City – of course they play sensational football – but they don’t have the same points tally as last year.
“The intensity, at one point, gets you and maybe it caught us this year. But that is no excuse for the next 10 games.
“It may be an explanation for why we are not on our top level. We didn’t find a way to bring in consistent performances.”
However, Liverpool have won just three away league matches this season and asked to explain the peaks and troughs of his side’s performances, Klopp said: “A lack of confidence – that’s clear.
“World-class players are performing on a strange level. It started with injuries and players coming back early, and we were never really settled in this season.
“We have to go through that and I have no problem with that. When I look back in 10 or 15 years this season will probably not be involved with highlights, but hopefully there’ll be a lot of things we can learn from it and can use next year.
“But we have to fight through this and this is tough. If it was easy they wouldn’t pay me that much money for it.
“We’ve had a super-strange season. We’ve had the two highest wins in our history but then a week later we cannot do it.”
Klopp will be hoping Liverpool rise to the occasion and produce another memorable result on Sunday but, while he praised the progress his side made in their 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Tuesday, the manager quelled talk of a stirring finale to the campaign.
“I’m really not in the mood to tell big stories,” Klopp said. “We have to win football games and for that we have to play better.
“I liked the desire and passion in the last game, and it was absolutely a step in the right direction. The potential is still there but we have to show the quality again. We have to make clear-cut decisions. Whoever trains well plays.
“Our next game is Arsenal and it’s a tough one, but at least at home we’ve produced some decent results.”
Watch Liverpool vs Arsenal on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.
You can also follow events from Anfield on the Sky Sports website with our live blog, featuring free in-game clips, plus find free match highlights at full-time across our digital platforms.
April 9: Arsenal (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
April 17: Leeds (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
April 22: Nottingham Forest (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
April 26: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm
April 30: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 3: Fulham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
May 6: Brentford (H) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 13: Leicester (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Aston Villa (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 28: Southampton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm