Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that last week’s 4-1 loss to Napoli was the worst of his reign at Liverpool and he said he would have asked questions about the manager if he was on the outside.
Liverpool’s first game in this season’s Champions League was over at half-time with the Reds 3-0 down and totally outplayed. They did manage to grab a draw in the second half in Naples, but the damaged was incurred in the first 45 minutes.
The German coach admitted it was “tough to take” and suggested they may well have to “reinvent” themselves after a disappointing start to the season.
To make matters worse Liverpool could not get the defeat out of their systems quickly either. Their home date with Wolves was postponed as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth II after her passing.
It has left the whole squad to mull over the trouncing, which Klopp has labelled worse than the 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa two years ago. On that day the Reds were again well beaten by half-time.
Incidentally it was the same back four in both games. Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold lined up in both games, although Adrian was in goal at Villa Park. Robertson meanwhile has been ruled out against Ajax through injury.
The only other two players who started were Roberto Firmino and Fabinho. But even that heavy loss at Villa Park had positives, according to Klopp.
In Naples there was no consolation prizes and Klopp says the defeat has sent shock waves through the club.
“We met with the players, I watched the Napoli game a lot and we saw horrors. The players knew as well,” said Klopp at his press conference.
“It was the worst game since I’ve been here. We’ve had a few, Villa away, but there are always glimpses of us.
“In this [Napoli] game, nothing. We have to understand why. Even is some games like Villa there were (positive signs). But here nothing.
“You solve all individual problems as a team and that’s the first thing we have to do, to follow a common idea again.
“My teams are based on a real foundation if not nearly perfect defending.”
Klopp wants ‘a reaction’
Klopp admitted the mood in the dressing room in Italy was low.
“After that game for sure, but now not,” said Klopp.
“If you take specific things for granted than it’s a mistake. We all have to realise again that it all starts with defending the ball.
“We have to win a challenge again. It’s the start of everything.”
Klopp’s men will jump straight back into action against Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night at Anfield.
“We have to show a reaction, we know that. It doesn’t mean we get a result v Ajax,” said the 55-year-old.
“A massive rebuild for them but a really good job. The situation about the group is not massively helpful but it’s a home game in the Champions League.
“We make sure we play different to Napoli and we’ll see.
“I only read about 10 words of what was said about us, but most of them were fair probably.
“I watched the game back, and (if it was me) I’d have asked a lot of questions about the manager and the players.”
Klopp has revealed that one of the issues from Napoli was a lack of “structure” as they tried to put right the wrongs at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
“I don’t want to give Ajax some sort of hint of what to expect tomorrow night,” said Klopp.
“We don’t have to create headlines before the game, to create positive headlines after the games is from what we do on the pitch.
“But we’re just not consistent enough so far (this season).”
“We had a meeting, showed them the situations and I didn’t have to say a lot [about Napoli]. The players know. We brought ourselves to this situation.
“We had obvious football problems which was from misjudgments. Everyone wanted to sort it by themselves. No structure.
Silence the ‘right thing to do’
“We had 4 or 5 days now of absolute truth. Not to knock the players down, just to make sure where we are now, this is the starting point for us to sort the problems together on the pitch. No pointing at each other.”
There will be a minute’s silence at Anfield on Tuesday to mark the death of the Queen.
“Yes, I think it’s the right thing to do. But I don’t think our people need any advice from me to show respect,” added Klopp.
“One that surprised me was last year when we played United, with the sad situation around Cristiano Ronaldo’s family.
“I’m 55 years old and she’s the only Queen of England I’ve ever known.
“I didn’t know her but she was kind and warm. People feel so close to her and I respect their grief a lot.
“I will show my respect tomorrow night with silence.”
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