Jurgen Klopp has hit back at pundits labelling Liverpool’s injury crisis an “excuse” for their poor season saying, “I couldn’t care less”.
Roy Keane has been very vocal this season in response to Liverpool’s plight, claiming Klopp’s side are blaming everything but themselves for their sudden fall from grace.
Following Liverpool’s defeat by Manchester City last month, Keane said on Sky Sports: “We spoke before the game – they are making a lot of excuses. To me they’ve been bad champions.
“You can lose a game of football but…I can’t figure this group out. Looking at them, even during the week Brighton were comfortable, you can get beaten in a game – there’s a way to be beaten. But I don’t see that.
“I think maybe they’ve believe the hype over the last year or two. We spoke about there would be some sort of drop off but they’re playing for a big team in Liverpool. Almost if they won the league last year and got a big carried away, believe their own hype they’re going to beat teams.
“In my mindset when you’ve won a league title your next challenge is ‘can we do it again’. I never got the impression from this squad/group, from their interviews, even from the manager last year when they won it were they saying ‘what’s the next step for Liverpool?’. No. Almost let’s enjoy this.
“Obviously it was a long wait, 30 years, but I never heard any of the players come out and say ‘I want to do it again’. That’s the key. Now they’re talking about trying to get in the top four…from winning the league last year. The top four is now where our targets are?
“They’re a huge club. They have to deal with setbacks [Virgil van Dijk]. Is that not part of the game. If players were fit the whole time it would be fantastic.
“You could look at Man City and say they’re missing their two best players. They’ve come to Liverpool – who have a strong team, I know the two centre-halves are missing but they still had their best attacking players on the pitch, still had their best goalkeeper available, they still have international players available. And after the game, I think Klopp said the keeper’s feet were cold.
“That’s a new one. I know it’s tongue-in-cheek a little but it’s excuses after excuses. Klopp said earlier City had a break because of the virus, missed two days training. It just goes on and on and on.
“You want a reaction from Liverpool’s performance against Brighton. You go to United in the FA Cup, they shipped seven earlier in the season to Villa. With Van Dijk.
“You could say it’s a one-off, a freak season, it’s Corona. Just get on with it. Perform like champions. You’re Liverpool Football Club. Keep performing like that and it will be another 30 years before they win the league.”
Klopp has been fierier this season than in past campaigns and has challenged the press in interviews as well as hit back at pundits.
And while the German hasn’t specifically named Keane when responding to those seemingly downplaying Liverpool’s injury crisis, he has hit back firmly at those who have called the problems “excuses”.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Klopp said: “Most of the problems are as a result of the injury situation. This year we have faced completely new problems. I have never in my life – and I have been doing the job for 20 years – had to change the last line every week.
“I am a much better manager this season than I was before because usually you are not having to think about these things but now I am having to think about them constantly.
“People might say that is an excuse. I could not care less, to be honest. We do not use it as an excuse but if you ask me the question then it is the explanation for why things changed.”