Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is “full of energy” and does not need a break from football despite a difficult period on and off the pitch.
Klopp led Liverpool to their first Premier League title last season but believes the champions’ hopes of retaining the trophy are over after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Leicester.
Liverpool have lost three consecutive league matches for the first time since November 2014 and are 13 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Some reports on social media claimed Klopp could walk away from the club after the Leicester defeat, but the 53-year-old – whose mother Elisabeth recently passed away aged 81 – dismissed the suggestion he might resign.
“I don’t need a break,” he said. “Look, the last thing I want to do is to talk about private things in a press conference, but everybody knows privately we had a tough time – that was not only over three weeks, it was for a much longer time and we always deal with it as a family.
“I’ve worked in football for 30 years and as a coach for 20 years. I can split things and switch off. I don’t carry things around. If I’m private, I’m private, if I’m football and in my workplace, then I’m here.
“Of course, we are influenced by things that happen around us but nobody has to worry about me. I might not look like this because the weather’s not good, my beard gets more and more grey, yes I don’t sleep a lot, but I’m full of energy. The situation’s a challenge. I see it as an interesting challenge.”
Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool boss in 2015 and signed a contract extension until 2024 in December 2019, six months after winning the Champions League.
Liverpool’s first league title in 30 years soon followed but Klopp’s side now have 30 fewer points than they did at the same stage last season – the biggest drop by any reigning champions in top-flight history – following a run of two wins in their previous 10 Premier League games.
Klopp added: “We will solve this challenge by playing football and fighting with all we have. That’s the plan we have.
“A lot of people are obviously not happy with the results, I get that and I’m responsible for that, but we have still played some pretty good stuff. You (the media) can forget that, but we cannot because that’s the start of changing [our fortunes].
“It’s a massive challenge. I’m ready, the boys are ready and we’ll give absolutely everything to solve this. I’m very grateful for all the support, but nobody has to worry about me.”
Klopp: Keita training but not ready
Liverpool face RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday in Budapest due to coronavirus restrictions in Germany.
Klopp will again be without several first-team players due to injury but midfielder Naby Keita – although not available to face his former club – has returned to training having been sidelined since December.
“Naby is no longer injured but he’s not fit yet,” Klopp said. “He was in training yesterday but it’s not sufficient yet. We will be away for two days and he will be in training; it’s better than flying with us. Of course, Naby would have liked to be there when it’s against Leipzig.
“He has had some very great spells but obviously you have to say he has had too many injuries as well, which hasn’t helped a lot, but he has played some really great games for us and scored important goals. He contributed to our success last year; he was always involved despite the injuries.
“These were unfortunate moments when you look at his injuries, it was just minor things that [ruled] him out from the team. But he has got an excellent perspective and is a great player.
“In terms of injuries, we all have to go through these difficulties and once that’s behind you, we’ll have another absolutely great player.”
Liverpool play RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday before hosting Merseyside rivals Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports from 5pm; kick-off 5.30pm.