Jurgen Klopp said it is his job as Liverpool manager to ride out a rough start to the season as he slammed suggestions his squad are on the decline.
The Reds have won just four of their first 12 Premier League games to fall 15 points behind leaders Arsenal and already sit eight adrift of a top-four place.
Successive defeats against Premier League strugglers Nottingham Forest and Leeds have compounded Liverpool’s misery.
Klopp and the Liverpool hierarchy have faced criticism for not doing more to rejuvenate a squad that came close to winning an unprecedented quadruple of trophies last season.
But the German claims a series of injuries means it is unfair to make any judgement on the players and his own position until the end of the season.
“I think the judgement for this will be later on in the season or at the end of the season when we say ‘this is it for this group of players or for this manager’”, Klopp said ahead of Napoli’s visit to Anfield in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“At the moment it is not 100 percent fair to judge the squad because we never had them all available, especially now up front we miss top quality which isn’t helpful.”
Liverpool are currently without forwards Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, while Andy Robertson, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara and Darwin Nunez have all been unavailable at times during the first few months of the season.
Klopp is credited with having transformed Liverpool’s fortunes during seven years in charge.
He has led the club to three Champions League finals and won Liverpool’s first league title for 30 years in 2020.
Insisting he is still up for the task of restoring Liverpool to their former glory, Klopp added: “It’s not a quick fix but we will not stop fighting.
“People look at me and they say ‘he looks tired’ or whatever but I’m not.
“I cannot give that excuse. My job is not only to be here when the sun is shining and somebody gives us a trophy.
“My job is to be there when we go through a really rough period and I will do that with all I have.”
Liverpool are at least already assured of a place in the Champions League last 16.
But they will need to inflict Napoli’s first defeat of the season and win by four goals if they are to knock the Italians off top spot in Group A.
“In the Champions League the most important thing is to get through and qualify for the knockout stage. That’s what we did,” Klopp said.
“It’s a football game broadcast all over the world. We will have a full Anfield and that means we have to put a proper shift in and that is what we will do.”