Jurgen Klopp has strongly indicated he remains opposed to a proposed European Super League despite Liverpool pledging to join the breakaway league.
In 2019, Klopp was public in his criticism of Super League proposals, saying: “I hope this Super League will never happen. With the way the Champions League is now running, football has a great product, even with the Europa League.
“For me, the Champions League is the Super League, in which you do not always end up playing against the same teams.
“Of course, it’s economically important, but why should we create a system where Liverpool faces Real Madrid for 10 straight years? Who wants to see that every year?”
Reminded of those quotes by Sky Sports ahead of Liverpool game at Leeds, Klopp responded: “My opinion didn’t change. Obviously I heard for the first time about it yesterday, and trying to prepare a game, a very difficult game against Leeds, and I knew so far we got some information, not a lot to be honest.
“It’s a tough one. People are not happy about it, and I can understand that, but I cannot say a lot more about it because we were not involved in any processes, not the players not me, we didn’t know about it. That’s the case or the fact, the facts are out there. We will have to wait to see how it develops.”
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Liverpool fans have reacted angrily to the news that their club could be involved in a European Super League, with banners outside Anfield reading: ‘LFC fans against European Super League’ and ‘Shame on You – RIP LFC – 1892-2021’.
“The most important part of football are the supporters and the team. And we have to make sure that nothing gets in-between that. I heard they put banners down at Anfield, and I don’t understand that because the players did not do anything wrong,” added Klopp.
In full: What Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports before Liverpool’s game at Leeds
“My opinion didn’t change. Obviously I heard for the first time about it yesterday, and trying to prepare a game, a very difficult game against Leeds, and I knew so far we got some information, not a lot to be honest.
“Most of the things you more or else can read in newspapers or whatever.
“It’s a tough one. People are not happy about it, and I can understand that, but I cannot say a lot more about it because we were not involved in any processes, not the players not me, we didn’t know about it. That’s the case or the fact, the facts are out there. We will have to wait to see how it develops.
“53 years old and since I was a professional player the Champions League was there. My aim was always – as a player it was not possible – as a manager was always to aim to coach a team there. So I obviously have no issues with the CL, I like the competitive fact of football. I like the fact West Ham might play CL football next year – I don’t want them to be honest because we might want to do that, but I like that they have the chance.
“What can I say. It’s really not easy. What I want to say as well – I have heard a few things, and what I really don’t like is that Liverpool Football Club is much more than some decisions.
“The most important part of football are the supporters and the team. And we have to make sure that nothing gets in-between that. I heard they put banners down at Anfield, and I don’t understand that because the players did not do anything wrong.
“We have to stick together and when other people from other clubs use our anthem against us I don’t like that as well so we can show that nobody has to walk alone in this moment. There are things we have to sort, but nothing to do with the football, nothing to do with the relationship between the supporters and the team, that’s for me really important. Because in tough times you have to show you really stick together. That doesn’t mean you have to agree to anything, but the boys didn’t do anything wrong, apart from not winning more football games.
Klopp on whether he understands the fans’ frustrations
“I understand it, but I am in a different position. I don’t have all the information, I don’t exactly know why the 12 clubs did it. I know some things will change in the future, in football some things have to change in the future, that’s for sure as well. The power, where the power is, and stuff like this, that’s not right.
“Everybody plans new competitions, UEFA showed me the new competition and I said ‘I don’t like it’ months ago, because of more games. I don’t expect they don’t do it just because I don’t like it. It’s always more games, more games. If you tell the clubs it’s about more money, what do you think it’s about with UEFA?
“The Club World Cup, whenever that should happen, it’s about money nothing else. So all these things happen.
“But usually you have to prepare these kind of things, but one thing I can understand that the people think is not right is the competitiveness. I get that, I said that before, I might not like that we will not be in the Champions League [next season if they don’t finish in top four], but if we earn it we want to be there like anybody else.”
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Klopp on Leeds game and whether the Super League announcement had been a distraction…
“Not really. Yesterday, I didn’t really know. This morning I had a short meeting with the boys and told them the things I know, which is not a lot. We just tried to focus on the game which we will do.
“I heard already there are warm-up shirts over there. We will not wear them. If somebody thinks they need to remind us that we need to earn the right to go to the Champions League that is a real joke and it makes me angry.
“If they put it in our dressing room, if it was a Leeds idea, thank you very much. Nobody has to remind us, maybe they should remind themselves.”
Analysis: Carragher on how the Super League can be stopped
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football:
“What I would say is this is not Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City. This is John Henry and FSG, Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour, Malcolm Glazer, Stan Kronke, Daniel Levy, these are the people to blame for this.
“What they’re doing is dragging institutions that we’ve seen in this country for more than a hundred years, basically through the mud, burning the history of what those clubs are about.
“From my own club’s point of view, the only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance to be in it, is because they’ve won six European Cups and 20 titles – only one each have come from FSG. They used Liverpool’s history, going back to Bill Shankly and before that, to get into the league and line their own pockets.
“The biggest thing for me and the football world, in terms of everybody being against it tonight, Jurgen Klopp has spoken on this in 2019 and made his stance very clear. If Liverpool lose their manager on the back of this in the next 12 months or so, those owners will be run out of the club in a week, I can assure you of that.
“This ownership bought Liverpool on the back of other American owners running the club badly, and the fans got them out. They got the club for a steel, it’s now worth six or seven times more. They’ve made their money, they’ve won the lottery with Liverpool. My message to everyone is that I think these clubs think this is a deal, it’s done. I don’t think it is.
“I think supporters up and down this country can fix this. I think at the forefront of that will be Liverpool, because I’ve seen it before. We have tribalism in this country, rivalry, that’s what makes the game. Football fans get together, all of us, in TV, pundits, players, managers, and stop this – it can be stopped, I’m convinced of it. Going forward, I think what we need is marches on stadiums, supporters getting together; this cannot be allowed to happen.”
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