Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended Jordan Henderson over recent criticism of his performances and insists he “is not a problem”.
The Reds midfielder have taken the brunt of criticism for Klopp’s side’s poor form this season with many fans and former players urging him to bring in a new midfielder in January.
Liverpool captain Henderson is one player under particular scrutiny as fans look for someone to inject urgency and intensity back into their play.
But Klopp insists Liverpool would “miss him” if they took Henderson out of the team, the German told a press conference: “Hendo is not a problem. He never was and never will be. If he is ready and in good shape he plays 98% of games or something like that.
“He played as he’s a very, very important player for us. No other reason. When he’s not playing, you miss him. Easy as that.
“I don’t understand why we talk about one player. Everyone knows how much I respect him but it’s not about one player. Henderson is not our problem, he never was and never will be.”
Tenth-placed Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday and Klopp wants to see “a reaction” to their 3-0 defeat to Wolves last time out.
Klopp added: “In recent years Everton can sort problems by beating us when they are not happy. For us it is another normal game. We need three points, that hasn’t changed. We have to show a reaction again. We have to show that.
“This is not a time we wanted to have or a time we are happy to be in. It’s a time we can show that the club is really special. The boys delivered a lot of great moments in the last few years. We are fighting to change the situation in a better direction. I believe the better behaved in lower moments the quicker you get into good moments again. I am really looking forward to a proper derby atmosphere and a proper football game.”
Liverpool have had to deal with numerous injury issues this season and Klopp had an update on some long-term absentees on Friday.
Klopp said: “Diogo [Jota] is the closest, trains now already for two days. Another three days and then he is in contention I would say.
“Bobby [Firmino] – I don’t know, have to see how he deals with training intensity. Arthur similar to Bobby. Virgil [Van Dijk] I don’t think that close.”
Klopp has been a bit spiky in some press conferences this season and the Liverpool boss insists it can be “difficult” to speak when his side aren’t doing well.
The Liverpool boss continued: “In our best periods, it’s easy to have a press conference because you ask about players scoring, we have a laugh and it’s nice. Some of you make massive things of what I say and it is not my intention. It’s difficult to talk all the time about [poor form].”
READ MORE: Klopp should take a break from Liverpool. Give it Rafa ’til the end of the season…