Ten times Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has come across as a bit of a pr*ck
Jurgen Klopp’s mask slipped again at the weekend when karma tugged at his hamstring as he harangued the fourth official before trying to stitch up Paul Tierney. It’s not the first time.
Football management is a stressful job. Klopp and his contemporaries aren’t performing open heart surgery, or making life or death decisions, but the spotlight and pressure is on them. Which causes them to do or say daft stuff.
Klopp has been at his post for longer than 89 of the 91 other managers in the top four divisions so he’s said and done plenty he might regret – and other stuff he definitely doesn’t. Here are 10 occasions the Liverpool boss came across as a bit of a whopper…
First red card in English football
Late on during Liverpool’s win over Manchester City earlier this season, Mo Salah tangled with Bernardo Silva by the touchline closest to the Anfield dugouts. It was probably a foul; it wasn’t given. Hey ho.
No. Klopp lost his sh*t with the assistant referee, charging towards and screaming at him, before following him back towards the halfway line as the official sought to keep up with play and out of the firing line of the German’s spittle.
Klopp offered no excuses while offering a bit of an excuse: “It was my fault but it was not that it was a boring 0-0 and I stood there and went bonkers. There is no excuse, I don’t want an excuse, it happened and it was obvious as everyone saw it. That he gave me a red card is absolutely OK.”
Somehow, Klopp initially escaped a touchline ban and was issued only a fine by an independent regulatory commission after admitting an improper conduct charge. The FA appealed and Klopp was rightly banished to the stands for one game.
Taking aim at the wrong target
Perhaps it was a rouse to distract Liverpool fans from the 3-0 humping they’d just received at Wolves, but Klopp began his pre-match press conference by attempting to humiliate James Pearce, The Athletic‘s Liverpool reporter.
Klopp waited for Pearce to ask a quite reasonable question before getting stuck in. “It’s very difficult to talk to you if I’m 100 per cent honest. I would prefer not to do that.
“You know why. For all the things you wrote. If somebody else wanted to ask that question then I’ll answer it.”
Harmless, you might think, but Klopp, as he well knew, kicked off a pile-on. It was a calculated attempt to humiliate Pearce. And for what? Because he’d got his facts wrong and picked on the wrong sodding journalist.
Jürgen Klopp refuses to speak to James Pearce. pic.twitter.com/a2nibSBAoI
— The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) February 4, 2023
Excuses. So many excuses.
Managers make excuses. Players do, we all do. But few bosses have quite the back catalogue Klopp has assembled.
The weather is one of his common themes, a favourite perhaps because of the variety. Wind, sun, snow… Klopp hates them all. He doesn’t much like the broadcasters – more on that later – and injuries have been a gripe. Not Liverpool’s injuries because that might be fair enough. But injuries to opponents.
God cops it, as do makers of the Premier League ball, and heaven forbid Manchester United should be awarded penalties.
Here are a dozen of Klopp’s classics.
Read more: Twelve daft excuses given by Klopp for Liverpool’s failings
Some journalists become fanboys in the presence of Klopp – he was once asked in a press conference if he was aware that everybody loved him – but a few have stood up to his bullsh*t. Des Kelly has felt the need to do so on more than one occasion.
Klopp seems to hold Kelly personally responsible for being made to play at 12:30pm on a Saturday. The manager hates it, and so too do his players if their recent record in that slot is any measure.
It will come as no surprise to learn that Klopp’s most terse exchange with Kelly came after Liverpool dropped points, to a last-minute penalty at Brighton in November 2020. The Reds also had two goals disallowed and lost James Milner to a hamstring injury.
Kelly cops it, as do BT Sport and, weirdly, so too does Chris Wilder…
Caught in the Simeone crossfire
There was tension between Klopp and Diego Simeone when Liverpool met Atletico Madrid in Spain in 2021. The year before, just as Covid was starting to act the dick, Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League which prompted Klopp to again disclose his frustration over teams having the temerity to defend against his side. It’s a recurring theme. Klopp seems to think you’re a c*** if you don’t play his way.
On this occasion in Madrid, after Liverpool’s 3-2 win, Simeone walked straight down the tunnel, failing to shake Klopp’s hand, which is something the Atletico manager has done before. Rightly or wrongly, Simeone has no time for niceties immediately after a final whistle, so Klopp was left hanging somewhat.
Quite reasonably, Klopp was asked about the snub after the game. He gave a quite reasonable answer too, until he took it too far. “In that moment I can understand that, he was running inside. He’s emotional, I’m emotional, and you are not a nice person because you want to make a story out of that.
“You said I’m angry, when was I angry? Now I am angry because of your question, come on.” Klopp dismissed a follow-up point before walking off.
Again, Liverpool had been denied victory, by Tottenham, and in Klopp’s mind, Paul Tierney.
After a 2-2 draw, Klopp marched on to the pitch, aggrieved at Tierney’s refusal to give a penalty – which was backed up upon VAR review – and a red card for Andy Robertson, all the while Harry Kane escaped the same sanction for another poor challenge.
“I have no problems with any referees – only you,” said Klopp, before repeating the point to fill the silence as Tierney and his team remained mute. He continued to berate the official: “You’ve never played football.” We’d be f***ed if all referees had to demonstrate a playing pedigree too. We’ve seen how little difference that makes on pundit panels.
Still, that wasn’t the c***iest thing Klopp has said about Tierney…
More Tierney trouble
Klopp, again, was riled up by his Liverpool team relinquishing a three-goal lead as Spurs chased an equaliser at Anfield. His defence had copped it from the touchline but Klopp made sure he saved some for his old pal Tierney.
When the ref gave a foul against Salah instead of in his favour, Klopp dropped to his knees and beat the floor like a toddler denied another Haribo. From that free-kick, Spurs won another further up the pitch from which Richarlison scored an added-time leveller.
Of course, Spurs weren’t done being Spursy, and they chucked all their good work in the bin by gifting Diogo Jota an even later winner. As Anfield erupted, so did Klopp. He darted towards John Brooks, at the cost of a pulled hamstring, seemingly goading Tierney’s fourth official for f*** knows what.
Klopp hobbled back towards his bench, not the stands, because Tierney showed him only a yellow card for his prickishness, not a red one, Still, that didn’t get the official off the hook in the post-match press conference, when Klopp whined about Tierney having said something untoward while he cautioned the manager.
“We have our history with Tierney. I really don’t know what he has against us. He has said there is no problems but that cannot be true. How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. My celebration was unnecessary, which is fair, but what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”
The PGMOL, having reviewed the audio, immediately called Klopp on his bullsh*t. We can’t wait for that audio to be made public.
Lost in ‘sh*t’ translation
Needing a point from their last Champions League group game at RB Salzburg to qualify for the last 16, Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson fulfilled their obligations by turning up to a press conference the day before.
Henderson, in Mackem, offered a mundane response to an even more mundane question, which then had to be repeated in German by a translator. So dull was the exchange that you can hardly blame the translator for drifting off. He repeated in German that Liverpool would ‘go lightly’ when Henderson had said they would not take it lightly.
A mistake, one that needed picking up on – absolutely. Klopp obliged. What he didn’t have to do was insult and humiliate the poor bloke.
“It’s s*** when next to the translator sits a coach who speaks German. The question was if the Champions League title from the last year helps us because we have always delivered in situations like this. You should really listen. Otherwise, I can do it by myself. It’s not too difficult.”
Klopp seemed to realise immediately that he had overstepped the mark, turning away and adding: “I am in competition mood already.” He apologised to the translator the following day: “I know that it was unfair and even more so as it happened in public. It was completely stupid… I should have done better and I’m sorry.”
Preparing to fail
It could have been foreseen that Klopp would be in spiky mood after watching his City wipe the floor with his struggling side at Anfield in 2021. A 4-1 defeat left the defending champions 10 points off the pace having played a game more, which seemed a perfectly reasonable topic for Niv Dovrat of Israeli TV station Sport 1 to ask the manager about.
“Can you see any scenario of catching up with them, or is it just for Liverpool now…” Klopp didn’t wait for the Israeli interviewer to finish his question before punching down at him.
“I really think you should prepare your job better to be honest. How can you ask that?
“They are 13 points away, in my understanding, and these questions about becoming champions – do you really think that’s appropriate at the moment.
“We have only two questions and you waste one for that. Your fault, you had only two questions.”
Dovrat reflected, then came to the correct conclusion. “I have interviewed the Liverpool manager dozens of times over the past few years. Last night, I was exposed to a different and unusual response,” he tweeted the following day. “Looking back, I think the style, manner and tone of the question were appropriate. The manager disagreed with me.”
Talking down after derby decision
While also bemoaning Everton for daring to defend, Klopp unleashed his fury on ref Craig Pawson for giving Everton a penalty that he believed to be the wrong decision. And then upon Sky Sports reporter Patrick Davison, who gave the wrong answer when Klopp demanded to know if he felt it was a penalty.
The Reds boss LOLed – genuine or faux, it wasn’t a good look – before saying they should “stop the interview because I only want to talk with people who have a little bit of understanding about football”. Then, when it was pointed out the pundits back in the studio, with around 600 caps and five Champions League titles between them, thought along similar lines as Davison, Klopp summoned the teenager within: “Sorry, I’m wrong, you’re all right.”
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