It wasn’t enough to win, there was only a 2-2 draw when Liverpool FC visited newly promoted Fulham FC on the first day of the new Premier League season. In the second game of the season, in which the Reds host Crystal Palace on Monday evening, a win is now in sight.
Jürgen Klopp, the coach, is also hoping for that. Everyone was talking about him at the beginning of the week, if not because of a tussle with which his colleagues Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea) and Antonio Conte (Tottenham Hotspur) caused a sensation on Sunday evening. No, Klopp gave a big interview in which – as is usual from him – he took a clear stand.
As for the dispute with Aleksander Ceferin, the president of the European football association Uefa, Klopp again pointed to the ever-growing burden on the best football professionals. “There is only one direction where this leads, and that is against the wall,” said the 55-year-old coach in an interview with “Kicker”. There is nobody, so Klopp, who really speaks for the players. When he addresses the lack of breaks for the players, “Aleksander Ceferin comes out of the corner and makes a polemical statement that other people have to work a lot more. I know that, Mr. Ceferin doesn’t have to tell me that,” said Klopp.
He knows what work means. “I don’t want to offend anyone, I just want to point out again that this game doesn’t work without the players and is only really nice when the best are on the field,” said the 55-year-old Liverpool coach. But the top stars shouldn’t have to be on the pitch every three days because then there’s no more time for training. The various leagues and associations, Klopp added, would not think about the players: “New tournaments are always being invented. Now we’re making the World Cup bigger so that other teams can also take part. We’re also making the EM bigger, amazing.”
Klopp did not spare criticism when he was asked about the heavily indebted FC Barcelona. The Catalans had sold 24.5 percent of the shares in Barça Studios for 100 million euros last week, after which the playing permits for Robert Lewandowski and also for the other additions Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Raphinha were granted in time for the start of the season in Spain receive. This also applied to Ousmane Dembélé and Sergi Roberto, whose contracts had been renewed.
Klopp was asked whether he could understand how FC Barcelona would operate. “No! Not for a variety of reasons,” he replied. “One reason is I’m not a financial professional. The second: If I’m told I don’t have any money, then I don’t spend anything anymore. My credit card has also been cut up twice, luckily that was a few years ago. I’m watching this like a football fan, I don’t understand. I’ve just found the club to be outstanding for the last few decades that I’ve been watching football and I hope they pull it off. The only club I know that ever sold the stadium and other rights in advance was Borussia Dortmund. Aki Watzke had to come at the last second and save the whole thing. And I don’t know if there is an Aki Watzke in Barcelona,” said Klopp, who sees the German record champions Bayern Munich as an alternative to the Catalans: “It is not the case in all leagues that there is what has been agreed. Bayern are world class and rock solid, which is why they are also one of the most successful clubs in the world.”
In any case, Klopp is currently full of praise for Bayern. Robert Lewandowski, “who has scored his 40 goals in recent years”, is no longer there, which is not easy. But Munich have a great team that is very likely to become champion again. Klopp also warned not to make the mistake of underestimating FC Bayern’s appeal from a German perspective. He said that against the background of the Munich additions to Sadio Mané (the offensive star came from Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus Turin) or Ryan Gravenberch.
“If you go to Munich, the probability of becoming a champion is relatively high. Bigger than, for example, with Juventus in Italy. So it’s a step in the right direction to go from Ajax to Bayern, and it’s a big one too. In addition, the city is beautiful,” emphasized Klopp: “Germany, FC Bayern provide security.”