Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists attitude is not the issue for his misfiring side this season.
Six Premier League defeats is four more than they suffered in the whole of last season but, while their hold on the Carabao Cup is over, their defence of the FA Cup continues at Brighton on Sunday.
The side returning to the scene of what Klopp described as the worst performance of his managerial career just a fortnight ago gives the players a chance to prove they have learned from that and can build on the back of two successive clean sheets.
“If [the problem] would be attitude it would be really easy, then it is not like they on purpose played bad,” he said.
“It never happened. That is why I cannot sit here and say, ‘I told them everything, they just can’t do it’.
“Attitude is not a problem. It is the understanding of the necessity.
“For example, a player would check his running stats after the game and say he ran exactly the same. But defending in the first place is input.
“The Brighton game was good for making, 100,000 percent, everyone aware of this fact. That was the low point, like, ‘OK, that is not allowed’.
“It is hard work to get there again. If it was easy everyone could have done it.
“I really saw real steps in the right direction and that’s important and must be my first concern when I think about the starting lineup.”
It has almost been forgotten amid their recent travails and struggles to get past Wolves that Liverpool are the FA Cup holders, having beaten Chelsea at Wembley last May.
Not that Klopp believes that has any influence.
“Being cup holders, I don’t think it’s [a] massive advantage in the competition. We start completely new,” he added.
“We know how great the event is if you arrive at the final, so that’s helpful if you want.”
One of the positives of the last couple of matches has been the performance of 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic.
The teenager has started back-to-back games alongside Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita and this week signed a new contract until 2027.
“We were pretty careful with him, because of his age. He showed now he is ready and for us it is very helpful, with all of his natural skills,” said Klopp.
“It’s something we didn’t show often enough in the recent games; aggression, but a good aggression – it’s not that he kicks players.
“He is a good footballer on top of that so that’s obviously very important in the centre of the park.”