London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he still has the energy to turn around the English champions’ season after three consecutive defeats ended the Reds’ realistic chances of defending their Premier League title.
Klopp’s men turn their attention to the Champions League on Tuesday when they face RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 tie.
Social media speculation after Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Leicester that Klopp could walk away was dismissed by the German, who thanked supporters who placed a banner reading “YNWA (You’ll Never Walk Alone) Jurgen” outside the club’s Anfield stadium on Sunday.
“I might not look like this, my beard gets more and more grey, but I am full of energy,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “The situation is a challenge, an interesting challenge.
“We will sort it. We will sort it by playing football, by being even more together, by learning more than you can learn in each season we played before.”
It was reported last week that Klopp’s mother Elisabeth had died last month at the age of 81. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Liverpool boss was not able to return to his native Germany for the funeral.
The same restrictions mean the match with Leipzig has been moved to Hungarian capital Budapest with Liverpool not offered an elite sport exemption from the German authorities.
“The last thing I want to do is talk about private things. Privately we had a tougher time. That is not just the last three weeks but a much longer time and we always deal with it as a family,” added Klopp.
“Thanks for all the support. I am very grateful for these type of things but nobody has to worry about me.”
At 20 years Klopp’s junior, Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is seen as the heir to his crown as one of Europe’s best managers.
At just 33, Nagelsmann already has a wealth of experience having led Leipzig to the Champions League semi-finals last season, knocking out Tottenham and Atletico Madrid on the way.
The Germans got the better of Manchester United to reach the knockout stages this season and are Bayern Munich’s closest challengers in the Bundesliga.
“Julian is an extraordinary talent,” added Klopp. “He’s still young as a coach, but he’s already proven everything you can as a manager. He’s young, fresh but still experienced and serious.
“An outstanding manager and when we are all old, he will be even better.”
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