Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp sat down with Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker to talk touchline emotions, the geography of England and everything Liverpool FC.
It’s almost impossible not to like Jürgen Klopp; his personality fills the room and his match analysis is second to none. Liverpool fans get to see it on full display every matchday as we get a view of all of his emotions right on our television screens.
We’ve seen him lose his mind with rage in 2015 when he was visibly upset with Tony Pulis after a 2-2 draw to West Brom and we’ve seen him sprint down the pitch to embrace Adam Lallana after a thrilling 5-4 win at Carrow Road. There’s absolutely no doubt that the Liverpool boss is full of life, and we get to see it on full display in this interview.
Klopp loves the drama of football
After some banter about camera angles, Lineker asked Klopp about his football philosophy to which the former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund manager responded “lively.” If you’ve seen him on the touchline, this is a very modest way of describing it.
Klopp continued to speak about his love for the big games.
“First of all, having memorable games in a row, that [gets] my fire started. That the people really want to see the next game, you leave the stadium and really want to see the next game, you can’t wait for the next game. That’s what football should be.”
Liverpool have their fair share of dramatic games including the aforementioned 5-4 thrilling win over Norwich City at Carrow Road and of course, the 4-3 comeback over Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarterfinals last year.
He fancies himself as a much better manager than player
“I understood the game much better than I could play it.”
Klopp had 337 caps at the senior level with Mainz 05 before being named manager of the club in 2001 after the sacking of Eckhard Krautzun. Klopp was originally a striker but was later converted to a defender about 4 years into his career. He managed to record 52 goals.
Klopp’s best half hour of his life
Lineker spent most of the start of the interview recalling Klopp’s days of managing both Mainz and Dortmund before discussing Liverpool and Anfield.
Lineker asked Klopp how he found the atmosphere at Anfield to which Klopp reflected back on the win against Dortmund in the Europa League quarterfinals.
“[The] half an hour at Anfield against Dortmund, the last half hour, [was] the best I ever had. I felt nobody could stop us […] It was crazy.”
The win against Dortmund in the Europa League last year was memorable to say the least. Going into Anfield 1-1 on aggregate and Dortmund scoring 2 goals early on in the second leg meant that Klopp’s Reds had to score three goals to progress to the semi finals. Liverpool found themselves 3-1 down but after goals from Phillipe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho they found themselves needing one goal to advance.
In rather dramatic fashion, Daniel Sturridge played in James Milner who was able to deliver a beautiful cross into Dejan Lovren who scored Liverpool’s winning goal in extra time to see themselves through to the semi-finals. Liverpool would eventually advance to the final where they would lose to Sevilla 3-1 in Basel.
Insight into his matchday selections
Picking a starting eleven is not so easy for Klopp these days with plenty of talent in midfield as well as tonnes of firepower up front. Klopp spoke out about his decision making for the starting eleven as well as the reaction from players left out.
“We have eleven players [who] can play at the beginning [of the game], if now if you’re number 12, 13, 14 the players know it’s okay. It’s not forever, it’s not for the next 500 years, it’s only for this game. So if you work hard next week, you will be in the starting lineup, if you’re good enough.”
Klopp went on to describe the problems he faces when players ask him why they aren’t in the starting lineup.
“The problem a little bit is with the talk. The absolute truth would be, you’re not good enough. I don’t want to say this. But it’s clear, so you don’t have to watch… Players ask what can I change? That’s a good talk.”
Klopp then took a rather relaxed approach to players disappointment of not being good enough.
“And then if you’re not in, you should be disappointed, but not too disappointed. Come on, it’s life.”
Jürgen Klopp loves Liverpool
Lineker asked Klopp if managing Liverpool has lived up to his expectations to which Klopp answered very simply.
“Do you think I would extend my contract if I I’m not really [happy]? It was so easy to say yes […] hopefully after 6 years we will look back and think ‘it was no waste of time’.”
The future of Liverpool Football Club
Klopp was asked after his 6 years, what would be his wish for the club.
“I would like to celebrate in 6 years, 6 times after each season something. That would be great. Really celebrate, not a small thing, really celebrate something. Driving a big bus through Liverpool celebrating with six, seven hundred thousand people is what I’d love to do.”
Liverpool fans have been waiting for a trophy for the past 10 years, the last time doing so defeating West Ham on penalties in the FA Cup final. But what Liverpool fans are truly dying for is a league title, which hasn’t been brought to Liverpool in over 25 years.
Jürgen Klopp has no excuses this year at Anfield, as he is finally playing with a side that is his and has no European matches to distract from the league’s fixtures.