Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp dismissed suggestions he was in need of a break amid a slump in results from the Premier League champions coinciding with a difficult time in his personal life.
The Reds will attempt to arrest a run of three successive top-flight losses which has led to Klopp admitting their title defence is over when they resume their Champions League campaign against RB Leipzig in Budapest on Tuesday.
A banner showing support for Klopp, who was unable to attend the funeral of his mother Elisabeth last week due to coronavirus travel restrictions, has been erected outside Anfield although the German insists it is unnecessary.
Klopp then gave short shrift to speculation he was ready to take a sabbatical or even quit the post he took up in October 2015 as he insisted he is embracing the challenge of turning around Liverpool’s fortunes.
As he previewed his side’s last-16 first-leg tie against Leipzig, Klopp said: “The banner is nice, obviously, but not necessary. I don’t feel I need special support. I don’t need a break.
“The last thing I want to do is talk about private things in a press conference but everybody knows we have had a tough time and we always deal with it as a family 100 per cent.
“When I came here to work, I am 53, I have been in football for 30 years, I can split things and switch off, I don’t carry things around. Of course we are influenced by things that happen but nobody has to worry about me.
“The beard gets more and more grey, I don’t sleep a lot but I am full of energy. The situation is an interesting challenge. Nobody wrote a book about how you come in a situation like this but we will solve it.”
Klopp confirmed Naby Keita has returned to training having been sidelined since before Christmas, but the Guinean midfielder will not be ready for the trip to the Hungarian capital to take on his former club.
Keita has been one of a number of first-team players who have been on the sidelines but it is injuries to their backline that has been particularly stark, with Jordan Henderson deployed as a makeshift centre-back recently.
Klopp said: “Injuries have had a big part of it, we cannot ignore that because it changed everything. A football team is like building a house: if the foundation is not right then it’s always a little bit shaky.
“Strange things happen injury wise, if someone tells me we have a player with a minor problem, I can say it is the centre-half. It has been the same thing all season.
“But it’s the Premier League and we are Liverpool. We cannot wait until 60 minutes before we go over the halfway line. We have to be dominant. And we will do that. I am ready. The boys are ready.”
Liverpool, who sit 13 points adrift of leaders Manchester City in fourth, now turn their focus to Europe and a Bundesliga side led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was labelled an “extraordinary talent” by countryman Klopp.
When confronted with former Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick’s assertion that the tie is a 50-50, Klopp added: “I am quite happy with that. If we go full throttle then I think 65 per cent likelihood of winning might be appropriate.
“Leipzig as an underdog I don’t know. They go full throttle as well. This is a knockout stage so someone has to be knocked out literally and we will do everything that we will not be the ones and we will continue.
“A 50 per cent chance is absolutely sufficient for me.”