Dave Davis examines what we know about the relationship between Jürgen Klopp and Fenway Sports Group and the signs aren’t promising.
Any time Liverpool are involved in a barnstorming 3-3 draw on the opening day, then what happened on the pitch will normally dominate headlines. However, on a day where our strengths and weaknesses on the pitch were laid bare, it’s the comments of Jürgen Klopp that are rightly concerning Liverpool fans.
Go back to January 2016 for a moment. Klopp was asked about whether he would have the ‘final say’ on transfers, unlike his predecessor Brendan Rodgers. The reply was unequivocal.
Klopp said, “Sometimes my staff and I have an idea about a player, then we collect information and then we have players our scouts bring in and we speak about it. If I don’t want a player to come here then he will not come. If a player I want doesn’t fit our budget then he will not come too. It’s a normal situation.”
Whilst outgoing players weren’t discussed, the ‘normal situation’ the former Dortmund Manager was referring to was clearly inferred. No-one would come or go through the doors at Melwood without him having the final say.
Fast forward to the press conference after the Watford game and the reply that came back was very different.
The German manager said, “As a manager of a football club I have bosses, and if bosses decide, for example, just in general, if we sell a player or we don’t sell him, then I have to accept it. I cannot say anything about it [the transfer request]. I work with the players I have – that is what I’m always doing.”
Same manager, two very different replies from one season to the next. The fact that Klopp was talking about the Coutinho situation was telling.
FSG’s decision to release a statement just before the Brazilian attacker handed in his transfer request now appears to be a decision in which Klopp wasn’t consulted or was dictated to.
In a summer which has been nothing3 short of hugely disappointing to date, there is a genuine fear with many Reds that the manager isn’t happy with his lot.
His top two targets aren’t at the club, he doesn’t appear to have the final say in transfer dealings anymore and what was described as the perfect relationship with the owners doesn’t appear to be.
There’s a long way between now and the close of the window, but there’s a real negativity emanating from Anfield right now despite many starting the summer with lofty expectations.
Everything could well get back on track, but Klopp’s comments weren’t lost on many. The manager isn’t in charge of everything anymore and it’s maybe a situation he’s not too happy with.