Jurgen Klopp has empathised with Liverpool supporters’ concerns over the lack of a centre-back signing this month, but insists the club’s owners feel the same way too.
Jordan Henderson, Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio have all deputised at the back over the past months to varying degrees of success, but without Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip there are no ideal options.
The obvious solution, therefore, would be to add another centre-back in the January transfer window, but due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Klopp has revealed that this is “not likely.”
Such a restriction could be seen as being imposed by the club’s owners, FSG, but Klopp has dismissed this, saying they “see exactly the same things that I see.”
“In good times, everybody thinks that our owners are really generous, ‘my god, big signings’ or whatever; in bad times they think they are really tight, maybe from a different country or whatever,” the manager said.
“But they are not. They are absolutely concerned about the club and the success of the club. That’s an understanding of how we have it.
“They see exactly the same things that I see about necessity of players and stuff like this.
“It’s not that I say ‘oh, by the way, a centre-half would be really nice’, and they say ‘wow, a centre-half, really? Why?’. It’s not like this, it’s all clear, all on the table.
“We work on that, you can imagine, but then it’s the situation, and on top of that we have January.
“It’s not the easiest transfer window, on top of that not having the money exactly like you want, it’s a window where other clubs say ‘no, we don’t have a lot of money but we don’t need it as well, we are clear, we have enough’.
“So we don’t do anything because it will harm our targets.
“My job is, in moments the transfer window is open, [to say] ‘is there something we could do to improve our situation?’.
“[Right now] yes, but that’s clear, everybody knows that, so should I say that again and again and again? It’s like it is.”
Klopp continued to express his sympathy with the desires of supporters, but while stressing that the club “tries what they can” he pointed out that any new arrival is not guaranteed to succeed either way.
“I’m a football supporter as well, but I’m not employed as a supporter, I’m employed as a manager. As a supporter I see ‘they need a centre-half and the other team has a good one, so bring him in’. I understand that,” he added.
“But my job is not that, my job is really to make the players we have here as strong as possible to deal with it.
“And again, would one centre-half help and sort all our problems? For a game or two, then he could be injured as well, we don’t know it!
“We have to work together, and we did that so far.
“And come on, it is the trickiest situation you can imagine, we have three senior centre-halves and they are all injured, that doesn’t happen a lot.
“But it happened, and now we have to deal with it, we cannot sort it now in the transfer market.
“The club, believe me, tries what they can, but in the end, if they can’t, then we have to do what we did so far, get stronger as a group, stick even more together and fight against the world, if you want.”
Whether or not the Reds end the month with a new centre-back remains to be seen, but Klopp appears to be attempting to build a siege mentality and foster belief in his existing options, including the inexperienced Williams and Phillips.
“Fight against the circumstances, strike back with all you have, and make the most special season ever of it when everybody thought ‘so now they have no chance’,” he continued.
“We played without three centre-halves and nobody said to us ‘you’ve got a good excuse for not winning football games’ – no, nobody said that.
“But it changed everything for us, we played with different centre-halves constantly, we’ve got to change everything, you change the protection, the whole setup is different.
“Nobody is interested in that. No pundits, no journalists, nobody says that.
“And it’s OK, we are Liverpool, we have to win football games, we know that, that’s what we try all the time. But we deal with the situation as good as we can.”