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‘Be careful and calm down’ – Jurgen Klopp criticises pundits’ push for protests

·4-min read

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels some television pundits were misguided in stoking up fans to protest against clubs as part of the opposition to the European Super League.

Last weekend’s match against Manchester United at Old Trafford was postponed after a handful of the hundreds of supporters demonstrating against the ownership of the Glazer family broke into the stadium.

There were reports of criminal damage and assaults on police and while Klopp supported the fans’ right to protest he was disappointed a number stepped over the line.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville working as Sky Sports football pundits before
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were among the two most outspoken pundits who called for fan mobilisation (Richard Sellers/PA)

The likes of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville used their television platform to be at the forefront of calls for supporters to mobilise against the owners of the ‘Big Six’ but Klopp felt some fans heard a different message.

“Was I surprised these kind of things happened? No, I’m an absolute believer in democracy – it means I am happy that people want to tell their opinion, that’s completely fine,” he said.

“But I know that in situations like that it doesn’t happen too often that no one gets hurt and that’s why I said the week before, when all the pundits were asking for protests, I said we need to be careful and calm down, to ask for the right things.

“I heard some policemen got injured and these kinds of things should not happen for sure. You shouldn’t break down the doors.

“To tell the world what you think about things is completely fine, as long as it is completely peaceful and as far as I know it wasn’t completely peaceful and then it is not right any more.”

Last weekend’s postponement may have given Liverpool’s battle-weary players an unexpected break but all it really did was allow fourth-placed Chelsea to extend their lead and make the task of qualifying for the Champions League even more daunting.

Klopp admits the chance of them making the top four may have gone as with just five matches remaining his side, with a match in hand, are seven points behind Thomas Tuchel’s team who are riding high after qualifying for the Champions League final and also have an FA Cup final against Leicester to look forward to next weekend.

By contrast the defending Premier League champions’ last two outings saw them concede significantly damaging late equalisers.

Klopp accepts that even taking into account season-ending injuries to Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip – with captain Jordan Henderson also being sidelined since February – they have fallen short, not only throughout the campaign, but in the run-in.

It looks like leaving them with the prospect of playing Europa League football next season.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp watches from the dugout
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits a top-four finish may be beyond them (Lee Smith/PA)

“We drew the last two so it didn’t help. I’m not sure there is still a chance but we’ll try to make sure that if there is one, we will be there,” Klopp added ahead of the visit of Southampton.

“We could be fifth or fourth of course, we should have done better in specific moments, but with the title we couldn’t deal with the injuries as well as we wanted.

“We needed to be nearly perfect (the previous two years) and we needed the situation to be nearly perfect. In the moment it’s not perfect, the league is too strong for us.

“We had too many injuries in key positions. I know people think that’s an excuse but it’s like in the moment when we lost our full defence it felt like you break your leg.

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson warming up
Captain Jordan Henderson has started running outdoors again after injury (Michael Regan/PA)

“That’s OK, you can still limp with that. But then we had to make our midfielders, to transform them, into defenders. Then we broke pretty much our spine on top of that and then it’s difficult to move.

“In the beginning when we had the problems we were still kind of winning, were in kind of a good position, but we always knew it is a long season to come and if anything else happens then we will struggle. And that’s what happened.”

Henderson has begun running outside after a groin operation in February but there is still no timescale on his return.