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'The things that are happening to us right now would not happen if there were fans in the stadium' - Wijnaldum

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Another day, another drama for Liverpool, with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admitting he may be playing his final few games for the club and manager Jurgen Klopp ruling himself out of becoming the next coach of Germany following Joachim Low’s decision to step down early.

Wijnaldum also went further than any Liverpool player in trying to explain what it has been like to be part of their horrendous run of form that has led to their Premier League title defence collapsing in ignominy.



The midfielder even claimed that the crisis – with six successive home Premier League defeats – would not have occurred had the fans been inside Anfield.



“I believe that the things that are happening to us right now would not happen if there were fans in the stadium,” he said. “The fans are there to help you get over it. To give you even more energy than you have in that moment.”



That kind of statement may rile opposition supporters and – of course – does not go close to explaining the scale of Liverpool’s demise that Wijnaldum said was “really shocking” and had left the players “angry”.

It is against that bewildering backdrop that Liverpool head to Budapest for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig.

They hold a 2-0 advantage from the first game – played inside the same stadium because of Covid-19 restrictions – for what is designated as their home fixture.

While Klopp stated there was “momentum” in the Champions League for Liverpool that does not exist elsewhere, Wijnaldum was blunt.

“The Champions League can rescue this season, but a lot of people will say it is only rescued if you win the Champions League and everyone knows how difficult that is,” the 30-year-old said.

If Liverpool do go all the way to the final in Istanbul, it could be Wijnaldum’s last game.

While saying he would be “devastated” if he did leave, he added that he was no nearer signing a new deal with his contract expiring at the end of this campaign.

“There is no news. I would like it if I could come with news. The only thing I can say is that I am really happy at the club,” he said.

“It will be difficult (to leave). If that happened I will leave a team who I really love. It will be difficult, but the other side is I would know the situation as to why I had to leave. That I would be devastated that I am not going to play with this team anymore? That would be for sure.”

Wijnaldum has featured in every game this season and admitted that the current run “has hit us hard. Everyone can see that”.

The Netherlands international added: “It’s a new situation. We were used to winning games and winning trophies, and now it’s the opposite so, yes, I think the confidence is less than in the previous years.

“When we analyse the games it makes us more angry because we can do so much better. We are in a difficult situation with injuries. But the situations we faced in the games when we have conceded goals have had nothing to do with injuries. That is what we are most disappointed in.”

Klopp, who has already been given the expected full backing of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, insisted he intended to see out his Anfield contract that runs until 2024.

Nevertheless, he would be the ideal choice of the German Football Association to take over from Low – although U-21 coach Stefan Kuntz appears a more likely target – but was emphatic about his intentions.

“Am I available for the job of the coach of the German national team in the summer? No,” he said. “After the summer, no.”

When asked again whether he might be interested with Low leaving after this summer’s European Championship, Klopp said: “This summer or after this summer I will not be available as a potential coach of the German team . . .

“I have three years left at Liverpool this summer, don’t I? It’s a simple situation. You sign a contract, and you try and stick to that contract, don’t you?

“I had contracts in Mainz where I stuck with them even though there was interest from other Bundesliga teams with more money. It’s just timing and money. If it doesn’t work out then there’s no need to lose any sleep over it.”

That might be interpreted as Klopp leaving the door open and the expectation in Germany is that one day – and when the 53-year-old eventually leaves Liverpool – he will take over the national team. For now, though, his tone is unequivocal.

Liverpool travelled to Hungary with Roberto Firmino having not trained due to a knee problem that makes him a doubt.

Liverpool v RB Leipzig

Live, VM Two/BT Sport 2, 8.0

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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