Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has “not one bit of doubt” about his team’s character despite a rocky run of form to start the year.
The Anfield outfit have won only once in 10 tries, and have crashed out of both the FA and EFL Cups in 2017.
However, they were back to their best in an impressive home victory over Tottenham last week, and the former Borussia Dortmund boss claims he discovered a lot about his team during their rough stretch.
“They are all human beings and of course they are influenced by the things they see every day,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“Did I learn anything new about them in the last few weeks? Yes. A lot of what I wanted to learn? No. But that’s how it is.
“I am not one bit in doubt about the character of these players but of course we have to create mentality. We had a few moments when we didn’t deliver, didn’t perform, although not too often in the Premier League, otherwise we couldn’t be where we are now.
“It feels worse because of different cup competitions. We should have been out of the EFL Cup last year, and that would have meant two less defeats this year in a moment when we needed each second for bringing a player back from injury, for recovery, for training.
“It didn’t help but we cannot make a wishlist and say: ‘What do we want?’ We have to deal with all the circumstances. Before the Tottenham game, we created a situation — you say to the boys: ‘Where will this lead us to?’
“Man United won, everybody told me, so it was clear we needed this win to show what we really want to do in the rest of the season.
“It was important and it was a really good sign. You have to take everything and fight but it looks a little bit stiff, not fluent. But the boys were in a good moment and they used this.”
While Liverpool have achieved positive results against the Premier League’s top teams, they have struggled to put away clubs lower down the table.
And Klopp said: “We are not used to being a top team, maybe we have to be. We are not clever like Chelsea who will be 2-0 up and just finish a game,” he added.
“I spoke to Antonio [Conte] for a long time here, maybe 25 minutes, and he mentioned they could play the same 13-14 players all the time. That is the big difference.
“They left the EFL Cup when? Before it started? I don’t remember them playing one game in that competition. Get rid of this. [Chelsea were knocked out in the fourth round by West Ham in October].
“In December we missed players and did not have the best schedule. From 31st December to 2nd January you could see the difference physically: ‘Oh my God, what have we done?’ It was not that we had all the players to change it at Sunderland.
“On a few things we had an influence and on others we did not have an influence — we conceded goals, offside against us, penalty against us. We could have had two, three or four points more.
“With two points more instead of an offside goal for Man United, and I don’t want to make a story of it, then it is the same situation but with 51 points. Only because of one decision and the games staying the same.
“Hull — first half really not good, Southampton — not good enough, Chelsea — good, United — good, Swansea — silly but not bad, we played pretty good until we stopped playing.”