Jurgen Klopp insists he will not walk away from Liverpool despite his reservations over the club’s involvement in a proposed European Super League.
The Reds have been under fire since it emerged on Sunday that they were one of 12 clubs set to launch their own closed-shop competition, which threatens to alter the footballing landscape both at home and abroad in the coming months and years. Klopp and his players were booed and jeered by fans ahead of their Premier League game at Leeds on Monday night, and the club’s actions have been roundly condemned by media pundits, former players and even their own supporters.
Even James Milner, the vice-captain, admitted he was against the notion of a Super League after the 1-1 draw at Elland Road, which leaves the Reds still outside the qualification spots for next season’s Champions League – a tournament it appears Liverpool are unlikely to play in anyway at this stage.
What’s been said?
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Klopp insisted he would remain Liverpool manager as long as he was wanted.
Asked if he felt let down by Fenway Sports Group, the club’s owners, he said: “I don’t think that, I don’t feel that. I am 20 years in football, and a lot of times owners made decisions without asking me, and I deal with it. I don’t want to be involved in these things, I don’t understand them. I’m a football person. It’s not about letting me down.
“I’m here as a football coach and manager, and I will do that as long as people let me do that. I heard today that I will resign or whatever. If times get even tougher, that makes me even more sticky that I will stay here. I feel responsible for the team, responsible for the club and for the relationship we have with our fans. It’s a very tough time, but I will try to help to sort it somehow.”
He added: “I am at the club six years, around about. I know our owners, they are serious people, reasonable people. They care about us. But they never had to explain these kinds of decisions to me or ask me for permission. That’s the situation. I speak a lot to them, but I was not involved at all in the process. I got the information yesterday.
“The English system is like this, there is pretty much one voice in the club and that’s the manager. It’s different to Germany. But there will be a moment for sure when our owners say what they have to say. Definitely, I’m sure.”
What else did Klopp have to say?
The German insisted he had no problem with supporters who are angry at the news of Liverpool’s involvement but said he disagreed with the decision of the group Spion Kop 1906, who will remove their iconic flags and banners from Anfield ahead of Saturday’s game with Newcastle.
Klopp said: “I understand that they are angry, absolutely. My problem is that the banners are there for the team, and that’s why I think I would leave them there. We have still a lot to go for in this season, and I really think over the last six years we created a great relationship between the team and the supporters. I understand that they want to act and show their anger, but the team had nothing to do with it, so in this moment they take the support away from the team.”
He added: “It’s a tough one at the moment, to hear pundits talking about the club. This club is bigger than all of us, we should not forget that. This club was built on difficult times, went through difficult times and all these things.
“Our owners made a decision. That’s part of the club. The whole club is bigger than everyone. They should calm down a bit. We are human beings as well, and it’s only the first day. I know the media world will keep it going, but the Leeds supporters are shouting at us as if I said we should go to the Super League!”