Jurgen Klopp said being Liverpool manager is not just about “when the sun is shining” as he dismissed suggestions his squad is in decline.
The Reds host Napoli on Tuesday having already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
However, they have struggled in the Premier League and sit ninth after winning only four of their opening 12 matches.
“It’s not a quick fix but we will not stop fighting,” Klopp said.
“People look at me and they say ‘he looks tired’ or whatever but I’m not. I cannot give that excuse. My job is not only to be here when the sun is shining and somebody gives us a trophy.
“My job is to be there when we go through a really rough period and I will do that with all I have.”
Liverpool’s tally of 16 points marks their worst points return after 12 games since Klopp took charge of the club in 2015, with successive defeats by strugglers Nottingham Forest and Leeds leaving the club 15 points adrift of leaders Arsenal and eight off a top-four spot.
|Liverpool’s starts under Klopp (Source: Transfermarkt)|
Klopp’s current starting XI also has one of the oldest average ages in the English top flight, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson, all over 30.
The German and Liverpool’s owners have faced criticism this term for not doing more to rejuvenate a squad that went close to an unprecedented quadruple of trophies last term.
But Klopp claims a series of injuries to key players means it is unfair to make any judgement on his squad or his own position until the end of the season.
“I think the judgement for this should come later on in the season, or maybe at the end,” Klopp added.
“If you say ‘that’s it’ for this group of players or for this manager I don’t think that’s 100% fair in this moment, to judge the team or the squad, because we never had them available.
“We miss players, especially now up front, we miss top quality, which is not helpful.
“Even if it’s unfair, it’s fine. It’s normal, it’s our life and it’s absolutely fair to ask these questions. But we have to answer that later on.”