Brendan Rodgers has insisted he is still the best man for the job at Liverpool after their season took another disappointing turn when they were knocked out of the Champions League by Basle in midweek.
Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday lunchtime to face rivals Manchester United, and Rodgers can barely afford another defeat with his team languishing in mid-table.
It is all a far cry from last season, when they took the title race to the last day of the season before finishing second to Manchester City.
Rodgers has borne the brunt of the criticism but said he was working hard to turn the corner.
“I think the message from me is clear: I don’t think there would be anyone better to do the job here,” he told several national newspapers. “Seven months ago we nearly won the title unexpectedly, I had time to work with players and we took them beyond where the club has been in a long time.
“This has been a difficult start with new players, less coaching time, young players; we are virtually starting again. I don’t think there is anybody better equipped to deal with that having been here for the last two and a half years and experienced what this club is about and seeing what we get from the players whenever we are at our best.
“Criticism comes with the territory when you don’t win games. Football is very short term. The same people who are criticising me now were maybe saying I couldn’t do anything wrong six or seven months ago. That is the way football works. You have to accept that as a manager and fight even harder to bring success. This period has ensured I will do that for sure.”