Brentford v Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp pre match
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James Milner has established himself as a valued member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad at Liverpool, but their relationship didn’t get off to the best start. That’s according to former Reds defender Ragnar Klavan, who has opened up on how the Liverpool pair very nearly came to blows in a tense training ground row.
When Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, there were already signs that Liverpool were heading in an upward projectory.
The German head coach still had plenty to do in order to turn things around, but he inherited a promising Liverpool squad with owners willing to back their manager.
Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and Milner had been signed that summer while Jordan Henderson was further establishing himself as the club captain.
In Klopp’s first summer transfer window, he brought in Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and Sadio Mane, along with Loris Karius and Klavan.
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His starting line-up was starting to take shape and there were promising signs at that stage that Liverpool were heading in the right direction under Klopp.
But the German head coach was coming under pressure during his first full season in charge and that seemingly boiled over in training sessions.
Klavan, who left Liverpool in 2018, told Betsafe Eesti Podcast: “The biggest pressure was around Christmas and at the beginning of January.
“One time, I don’t remember who we played against. Maybe it was against Sunderland away.
“Klopp and James Milner almost started a physical fight. It was the period when there was Boxing Day in England and they almost started fighting but eventually Milner stepped back.
“We saw from his eyes that Klopp would have gone all the way just to prove his point.
“It was the most stressful time for him as well. He was under a lot of pressure.
“It was my first and Klopp’s second year. What are you going to do? You’re supposed to be a good coach.
“You are Jurgen Klopp who will make superstars of all players. The pressure started getting to him.
“It’s not supposed to be easy, but if you don’t deliver against a team like Sunderland, then you can forget about the places you had hoped for.”
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