Football: Klopp to Reds: We must still believe

Liverpool's Adam Lallana (left) and Roberto Firmino face an uphill task to get the Reds back in the title hunt.
Liverpool's Adam Lallana (left) and Roberto Firmino face an uphill task to get the Reds back in the title hunt.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Mired in poor form, Red boss issues rallying cry even as reinforcements are unlikely

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his side to retain their belief in the midst of an unconvincing start to the year, and said his transfer plans have been frustrated by clubs refusing to sell prized assets this month.

Liverpool's 12-month unbeaten record at home in the Premier League came to an unexpected end on Saturday when relegation-threatened Swansea City recorded their first league win at Anfield.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's winner, capitalising on slack defending by Liverpool after they had recovered from two goals down, left Klopp's team without a victory in three league matches this year and dealt a significant blow to their title prospects.

Liverpool were also beaten in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final at Southampton, who go to Anfield for the second leg tomorrow.

However, Klopp insisted belief must remain intact despite recent poor results.

The German said: "We have to do the job, we know about this 100 per cent, and yes, stay in the (title) race.

BELIEF IS PARAMOUNT

When you win 10 games in a row you are flying and it is easy to believe. When you are in the difficult moments, that's when you have to stay on track and still believe, and that is what we see. We as a team, 100 per cent no doubt, we still have belief.

JURGEN KLOPP , Liverpool manager, on maintaining belief in their title hopes despite poor form this month

"Mentally, of course, that is important here. When you win 10 games in a row you are flying and it is easy to believe. When you are in the difficult moments, that's when you have to stay on track and still believe, and that is what we see. We as a team, 100 per cent no doubt, we still have belief."

Despite interest in Mahmoud Dahoud of Borussia Monchengladbach and the Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic, the Liverpool manager does not expect to make significant signings this month, although he says it is not for the want of trying.

Liverpool's main business before the transfer deadline could be to offload Mamadou Sakho, who is a target for several Premier League clubs but is proving difficult to move on.

"I understand it is absolutely normal that people ask whether we should have brought players in," Klopp said.

"The situation is yes, on the one side pretty simple, but on the other hand it is pretty difficult. It is not that we don't want to bring players in. We do. But the thing is, the players we want, the clubs don't sell. It is not about money in this situation, it is the winter transfer window.

"Clubs are saying, 'No, we have half a year to go, we cannot find another player like this, we prefer to take money in the summer than a few pounds more in the winter.'

"So it is pretty easy. You see the situation. If the right decision is not possible in signing the right player. then you cannot make the wrong transfer.

"It is not as if there are 20 players out there who could make this team stronger, who are running around and are available.

"That is the situation. That is why I say we know the situation, we are prepared to move, but for the right player.

"But we are not the only side who can decide the outcome of that, though, are we? The selling club make the decision too."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp to Reds: We must still believe'. Print Edition | Subscribe