tensions build | 

Why Liverpool fans will back Jurgen Klopp and blame the club’s owners for slump

Liverpool sell before they buy transfer policy has restricted Klopp’s ambitions.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the touchline during the UEFA Champions League Group A match at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, Italy. Picture date: Wednesday September 7, 2022.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has always been a vocal supporter of the club’s American owners in public, but that stance has shifted a little in recent weeks.

Klopp confirmed he was content to extend his stay at Liverpool when he signed a new contract with the club last April, but it appeared he was a little exasperated with the club’s refusal to release extra funds for signings this summer.

Last season’s run to the Champions League final in a season that saw Liverpool win the FA Cup and League Cup ensured they collected well over £150million in revenue from broadcast deals alone last season.

Yet Fenway Sports Group (FSG) only sanctioned a net spend of just £8.6million after a summer that saw Sadio Mane and several players left the club and striker Darwin Nunez among those arriving in a deal that could eventually be worth £85million.

Klopp was pushing to sign a midfielder in the final weeks of the transfer window, but he admitted he players he was targeting were not within his budget.

“I am not in charge of what we can spend. That's the situation,” he said last month. "We get told things and then we deal with it. That is always the same, it didn't change. You could say that is why we are here with a good understanding and a bad understanding.

"We get told things and then we deal with it. That is always the same, it didn't change. You could say that is why we are here with a good understanding and a bad understanding.

"I always have to accept that and always did. That is it. It makes no sense to worry about something you cannot change. That is a waste of energy, a waste of positivity.

"I love this group, really I do, and not because they are so good looking, no, it's because they are incredible characters. Now let's go and don't worry constantly about these kinds of things, the facts are the facts, let's accept them and go from there."

In the net spend transfer table, Liverpool were the 11th biggest spenders in the Premier League this summer and over the last five years, they are the ninth biggest net spenders in England's top flight.

Despite those statistics, Liverpool have maintained challenges in all competition, yet former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy insists Klopp cannot blame FSG for his current woes.

Liverpool’s season hit a new low after their 4-1 Champions League defeat against Napoli on Wednesday night, with Murphy suggesting the players are to blame for the slump.

Jurgen Klopp manager instructs his team during their Champions League Group A match against SSC Napoli at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona last night in Naples, Italy. Photo: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images© Getty Images

“I’ve felt there has been a complacency set in from some of the players,” the former Liverpool midfielder told talkSPORT.

“Gerard Houllier used to call it ‘the comfort zone’, where players get comfortable with knowing they’re going to play. Three of that back-four has been picking itself for years, and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk are both struggling.

“Virgil looks like maybe he’s playing with something or protecting himself a little bit because he’s not what he was. He’s still a terrific player but he’s not at the level we were talking about two seasons ago.

“So how do you provoke a reaction? How do you get players back to their level? Normally a kick up the backside and leaving you out of the team can work, but I think it’s going to be a tough few weeks for them, it’s not going to change overnight.

“This narrative about Mane being such a huge miss, I think that’s an easy thing to say.

“Of course he’s a miss because he’s a super player, but Diaz has been Liverpool’s best player – he’s scored four goals already and hit the woodwork four times, he’s hardly been poor.

“I think the Mane thing is just an excuse, and maybe players can hide behind that. I don’t agree with the Mane point. You miss quality, but him leaving is not the reason the players at the back aren’t tracking runners or switching off – that’s complacency and a lack of concentration.

“If you’ve got players dropping off, it’s not because they’re physically not capable.

“You could argue that with a 21-year-old who has played every game for three seasons and he needs a rest, fair enough. Trent has played a lot of football and you could argue he physically is a bit off it.

“But senior players, there is no reason for Salah to drop off physically, that’s an attitude thing and that’s then on the manager.

“Does a manager’s message, no matter how successful he’s been and how good he’s been, eventually over time just become noise? Does it become muted over a period of time?

“I’m not thinking that, I think the players have to take some responsibility.”


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