Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp denies it is time for a rebuild of his squad but admits a top-four finish this season will be a big achievement.
Twelve of his current squad are 28 or over with nine considered core players, with Fabinho, Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones currently the only players who have played a major part under that age.
Only two – Thiago Alcantara and Jota – of Liverpool’s last six major transfers could be classed in the category of strengthening Klopp’s first-choice XI and both have missed large parts of this season through injury.
A run of two Premier League wins since Christmas has led some critics to suggest the squad needs refreshing after the achievements and workload over the last three years.
Klopp, however, disagrees and pointed to a lengthy injury list for being at the heart of the problem.
“Rebuild? No. What is ‘rebuild’ exactly? Rebuild means 10 out, 10 in? Changes to which XI?” he said.
“I know what you mean but I don’t think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it: six, seven out, running contracts but trying to get rid of them and bring in all the new faces.
“The squad of this year didn’t have the chance to play together one time really. I think it would make sense to have a look at that but on top of that, of course little readjustments will happen.
We can confirm Jordan Henderson has undergone a successful operation on the injury he sustained during Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 26, 2021
“Reacting on the situation but planning at the same time for the future and all these kinds of things.
“I am not sure we can do that in the summer but that is what we will try.”
A return of nine points from a possible 33 since thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19 has seen the defending champions fall from first to sixth which has left them in a battle for the top four.
And when asked to assess the achievement of qualifying for the Champions League in the face of an injury list which shows no signs of easing – after captain Jordan Henderson was ruled out for at least a month after a groin operation – Klopp said: “Big. Yes it would. Absolutely.
“You can see the competitors. Look, it is not about the possible performance.
We know that performance-wise we are not that far away, but results-wise we are.Jurgen Klopp
“The game we played against Leicester (when they conceded three in the last 12 minutes) we lost, but the performance on the day was one with which the team usually wins.
“It is all about results. The table doesn’t lie. Never. That is completely fine. We know that performance-wise we are not that far away, but results-wise we are.
“That is what we have to change and for all the different reasons that it was a difficult season so far for us.
“We try with all we have to sort it and while you try and sort one problem another problem occurs. That is in a season when it is not going perfect, obviously.”