Several of the Liverpool team that went down meekly 3-1 at struggling Leicester City on Monday are playing well below their best, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday, admitting a quick reaction was needed to get their season back on track.
Liverpool, who are fifth in the table and have won just one league game since the turn of the year, host fourth-placed Arsenal on Saturday looking to bounce back immediately from one of their worst performances of the season.
“It doesn’t feel that free-flowing anymore but that’s how seasons are,” Klopp told reporters on Friday. “Only (runaway league leaders) Chelsea have that feeling still, all the rest have had better or worse moments in the season.
“We have a lack of consistency. We cannot ignore it.”
Klopp said there was room for improvement throughout the side after watching the likes of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho struggle.
“I am not a clown even if few people think I am,” the German added. “I am not always laughing like crazy. I am a normal person…
“We have to do better, 100 per cent. Not only Phil and Roberto. There are a few other players who have a lot of space to improve. We have to be as confident as possible in the next game.”
Klopp challenged his players to respond against Arsenal.
“It’s Anfield, our stadium and the last game we played there was fantastic. We want that feeling again,” he added. “We need to bounce back. We need to keep the points at Anfield.”
Captain Jordan Henderson is unavailable for Saturday’s game, while striker Daniel Sturridge has a hip injury.
Manchester United take on Bournemouth on Saturday amid speculation Rooney was being linked with a move back to Everton.
Mourinho said the striker was in the squad for the league clash, “with possibilities to …start or be on the bench.”
Since he had decided to “help the team and to fight for Manchester United he’s an important player for us,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.
“I think by giving you these two details I’m telling you all the talk about Everton for me makes nonsense.”
Newspapers in London and Liverpool reported Rooney was open to a return, while Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he would welcome the striker back.
Premier League games on Saturday (All games start at 17.00 unless otherwise stated):
Man Utd v Bournemouth (14.30)
Leicester v Hull
Stoke v Middlesbrough
Swansea v Burnley
Watford v Southampton
West Brom v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Arsenal (19.30)