Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes few managers could make the impact at Anfield that he has made in two years – but still reckons more could have been achieved since taking over.
‘We had to improve the situation we were in,’ Klopp said of his arrival two years ago at a press conference before Saturday’s match against Manchester United.
‘If they sack me now, I don’t think there are a lot of managers who could do a job better than I do.
‘I don’t think I’m perfect but it’s difficult to find better options. I still think as long as 98 per cent of all Liverpudlians think we are on the right way, we will succeed. It is a great job, a difficult job, yes, but a wonderful time and I have enjoyed each second.
Are we where we could be? Not sure, we did better last year but we didn’t get the results so far (this season).
‘We had to improve to be in the situation where we are now with not the biggest distance to the top teams, even it looks from the points a little bit different.
‘It is quite difficult, the good old times when one team dominated the league for 20 years will not come back. Our job is to work in this moment and to fight with all we have for each point.
‘I am not overly happy, it was not a big party (his two-year anniversary). When someone called me to say “congratulations, two years at Liverpool” I didn’t open immediately a bottle of champagne.
‘I feel in the middle of everything. I am not at the start but there is a long way to go. Even if there is a long way to go, we could have more points already this year.
‘I am calm and cool with all the things we have still to do.’
Liverpool are seventh in the Premier League with 12 points from their opening seven matches, while Saturday’s opponents United are second on 19.
Sadio Mane will be absent as Liverpool look to slash the gap on their rivals after he injured his hamstring on international duty with Senegal.
‘Obviously we can still play football without Sadio as we have had to do this in the past – much more than we would have wanted,’ Klopp said. ‘He is the highest-quality player and was very unlucky with injury.
‘A lot of players in this international break from different teams had injuries – it is a big problem with change of training, different rhythm. That is always a problem and you hope nothing will happen.
‘On this occasion it was Sadio but no-one else. We can play without him even if we would love to have him in the line-up.’
But Klopp assured Liverpool fans that Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino will be ready for the match, despite returning late due to international commitments with Brazil.
‘That is a little bit different,’ Klopp explained.
‘The club has done everything to bring the boys back. We worked really close together with other clubs in this region to bring all the South American players home together.
‘Phil played two games, Roberto played about five minutes so it is different. They both had a long flight, even if it was pretty comfortable I am sure. I was not in the plane but I can imagine as I saw the price! They should be ok and they are important, yes.’