Klopp: I'm not David Copperfield

LONDON • Juergen Klopp has said that he took the Liverpool job because it was the right one, not the easiest one, and that it would need a magician such as David Copperfield to conjure an immediate transformation at Anfield.

The Reds head to cellar-dwellers Aston Villa today in ninth position, having taken just five points from a possible 18 this year. Hopes of a second Wembley appearance this season were also dashed by West Ham United in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Klopp has had to navigate a way through a demanding schedule with an extensive injury list, guiding Liverpool to the League Cup final in the process.

"I think everyone knows there would have been a few easier jobs but I am not this kind of guy," he said. "I was always ready for the right job in the right situation where you can make a difference.

"To change things you need time. I am not David Copperfield. But I feel completely in the right place. I feel good, I like to work and I am still learning about everything.

"We are not in a perfect position but we are in a good way. I have no problem getting a few knocks and having a few beautiful moments along the way."

Klopp's confidence has been helped in the present by the return of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi from injury.

But, before Christian Benteke's return to Villa for the first time since his £32.5 million (S$65.9 million) move to Liverpool, he admits the striker's self-belief has been affected by his goal drought.

The Belgian missed a series of inviting chances against West Ham and his dismal run without a goal has now extended to 11 matches, with his last goal coming at Sunderland on Dec 30.

"It is not the easiest period of his career but the number of opportunities he is getting is a good sign," Klopp said.

Villa manager Remi Garde, however, is reluctant to read anything into the struggles of Liverpool or Benteke.

"I'm not too comfortable with teams that are not in a good mood because they will wake up, especially a club like that with threatening players up front," he said.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ASTON VILLA V LIVERPOOL
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp: I'm not David Copperfield'. Print Edition | Subscribe