Jurgen Klopp hopes his Liverpool side have hit their lowest point and can now start to bounce back.
Klopp insists his players have not “changed overnight” despite the defeat to Burnley ending a 68-match unbeaten run at home in the Premier League after a fourth successive game without a goal.
Their challenge only gets harder with an FA Cup trip to Manchester United on Sunday but Klopp wants to believe they have reached their nadir and can start to climb out of the slump.
“We lost that game and it was a really low point. It’s not that I thought, ‘Who cares?’,” he said.
“When I think back I can’t find a reason why we lost that game but we lost it. It happened and sometimes you need a really low point to change things properly and that’s for sure [what] we will go for now.
“If we would have won in a bad game the world would have said, ‘OK, it’s not the football they usually play but they are back on the result path’, but in the long term it would not help.
“It can be a real help if we use it. I can imagine what a lot of people think about us in the moment.
“But people don’t change overnight. People sometimes face challenges they are not immediately ready for and sometimes you don’t even know a challenge will come up.
“But this is a challenge we didn’t want to have. Was it absolutely impossible it could happen? No, especially in the situation we are.
“They [the players] are still brilliant people and brilliant characters, all of them.
“All of them made happen what happened in the last few years and they don’t change overnight. It is still a really good group.”
Mohamed Salah was on the bench for the first hour of the Burnley defeat but will be unleashed against United as the Premier League’s leading goalscorer looks to improve a run of one goal – against Aston Villa’s youth team in the previous round – in six matches.
In an interview published in Spain just before Christmas the Egypt international spoke about his disappointment over not being made captain for the Champions League dead rubber against Midtjylland, while also expressing his admiration for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Earlier this week Salah said he wants to stay at Liverpool for as long as he can and Klopp insists the speculation is not a distraction for the player or the team.
“That’s a normal thing in the world of football. He didn’t have a speech, it is not that we go out and talk about things which are important, it is pretty rare that happens,” he said.
“We get asked questions and then we answer. It always sounds like we started the conversation but in most cases it is not like that.
“I don’t think it will distract the season.”
Klopp on transfers: ‘I cannot spend the money’
Klopp says he discusses Liverpool transfer targets on a daily basis but he “cannot spend the money” as he hinted at frustration over the club not strengthening his squad.
The German suggested there is a willingness on his part to find solutions in the transfer window, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and summer recruit Diogo Jota among those unavailable through injury.
“Of course someone else is making the decisions, it was always like this,” Klopp said when asked to clarify comments he made after defeat to Burnley, where he implied he did not have the final say on bringing in reinforcements.
“If people are surprised about that I cannot change that. The situation we have is we discuss on a daily basis.
“Could we improve something or not? I then make recommendations, but I cannot spend the money. I don’t make these decisions, I never did.”