JÜRGEN Klopp’s post-Newcastle debacle press conference made for an interesting watch for a number of reasons.
First, it was clear he was absolutely fuming and in no mood for bullshit after Liverpool undid much of their recent good work in front of the watching millions.
For all the goofy grins, endearing smiles and jokey moments, it doesn’t take too much dot joining to conclude that when the 6ft 4ins German wants to crack the whip, he is more than capable of doing so. He’s a heart-on-the-sleeve fella, and just like he was still turning over how Liverpool lost to “fucking Palace” weeks later you can bet that this Tyneside tumble will be at the forefront of his mind for weeks to come.
He cut to the chase in front of the assembled media. Liverpool were poor throughout. Newcastle deserved it. Everything had gone wrong. And on a day like that, he would have been happy for Liverpool to escape with a “dirty draw” as he described it. Just get out with something in other words, anything. Know it’s not your day and dog your way to a point. An art Liverpool are yet to master, and a skill Klopp will now add to his lengthening to-do list.
Alberto Moreno had scored a “world class” goal, he said, but perhaps because Liverpool were so “shit”, the linesman had decided the Reds couldn’t have it.
No turd polishing. No spin. It wasn’t good enough. He knows. You can bet the players know. And will be reminded again and again.
The theme continued.
Klopp was then taken down an oft-travelled road of newspaper parlance when a football team falls on its face. Was this a “wake-up call”? Had Liverpool learned their lesson after all the tips for a title chase and talk of a charge to the top of the league? Was it a “reality check”?
Stoney-faced, Klopp replied: “Everybody on your side of the table maybe (said we were title contenders). I didn’t hear anybody on this side of the table talking about it.
“I have no problem with anything you might talk about, but please don’t ask me now about this — I didn’t say before we were title contenders, so why I should say now that we’re not?”
It was an interesting point, particularly in the wake of some supporter debates over the weekend, some of which suggested fans shoudn’t load high expectations on the team by talking of titles.
I disagree. And I’ll venture that Klopp would, too. Clearly, everyone doesn’t think the same way, and life would a drag if we had the same thoughts. But surely manager and players at Liverpool would expect supporters to be excited after watching their team undress Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton by scorelines of 3-1, 4-1 and 6-1?
Surely they wouldn’t think it unreasonable that supporters travelled to Tyneside to watch the Reds face a side that had chalked up just two league wins and expected victory.
And surely they wouldn’t begrudge fans looking at a fixture list that doesn’t look particularly challenging in black and white until the middle of January and daring to dream.
Yet theories have been floated this weekend that fans are somehow adding to the pressure on the players. And that by “deluding” ourselves of Liverpool’s true level we’re some kind of collective embarrassment to the sporting world.
Neither washes. Being a professional sportsman involves pressure. Playing for Liverpool involves pressure. Playing in front of big crowds, with your every move scrutinised to the nth degree is pressure. The players are well rewarded for it. And if they crack, or can’t take it, they are moved on. They are replaced with better. Sport’s ruthless. Liverpool need to be ruthless. And I think Klopp is ruthless.
So what we — as a collective, Liverpool fans — say and do outside of match days? What we write, what we say? Can’t imagine it is influencing too much, to be honest, when it comes to taking to the field.
Don’t get me wrong, I saw plenty in that Liverpool performance yesterday that hinted that the team on the day was not psychologically in the right place. Unforced errors aplenty, no runs at some times and the wrong runs at others. Simple things poorly executed.
It’s more than possible that some of this was down to the context. Nathaniel Clyne mentioned it in his post-match interview. Manchester City losing, Chelsea losing, Manchester United drawing…it felt like a big opportunity for Liverpool to deliver a convincing performance. They were being talked up, by Koeman, by McClaren, by the media, by the bookies. They fluffed their lines. But was that down to supporters getting excited? To fans sensing an opportunity in a league lacking an outstanding team? Doubt it. Noise around the game is there for every team, 24/7.
If you can’t hope, dream and enjoy yourself as a football supporter, what’s the point? It’s the unexpected that keeps us coming back. Why fans fill grounds. Why they fork out for telly subscriptions. Because there’s always a chance. Always the possibility. Yesterday, Newcastle defied odds of 6-1 to beat Liverpool. After all that had come before, I’m sure the Geordies enjoyed a good drink last night. The boot has been on the other foot plenty of times.
Yes, Liverpool’s capitulation at St James’ was an unexpected dig to the gut after what had come before but it has to be viewed in context, something that is perhaps easier today than it was yesterday. Klopp, working with an inherited squad and injuries to key players at key times has got some fans talking about titles after just 12 games in charge.
Of those 12, he has won seven, drawn three and lost two, with Liverpool scoring 21 goals and conceding 10. The Reds are in the semis of the League Cup, have progressed in the Europa League and are just six points off third place in the Premier League. It’s hardly time for tearing out of hair.
Klopp has consistently batted away talk of miracles and magic, of title challenges and being the best right now. And that’s fair enough. He’s got a lot on. He’s got to assess what he’s got, target what he can get and achieve results in the meantime. So far, pretty good. Newcastle will add to his knowledge of what is right and what is wrong about the current set up.
And as for us fans, would he have a problem with us talking about him turning it round quickly? About us still glancing at the table and wondering?
Isn’t that just believing instead of doubting, the atmosphere he is trying to foster among supporters?
As the manager hinted, what he says to his players and within the club is one thing and what he says to us and the media is another. They are different facets of the job and he expects different things from the different sections; the media, the fans, the players.
Our job is easy: support. And enjoy it.
Twenty five years of watching the Reds not win the league always has me worrying when I sense fans are getting carried away with opportunities to lift number 19. But I don’t begrudge them. We’re just different. And the idea it’s creating something to mock from people outside the Liverpool bubble?
Well since when have we given two fucks about that?
The Reds are still coming up the hill, look who’s leading them. I’m not sure when we’ll get to the top but I’ll always dream of getting there. As Jürgen said: “Saying everything is alright after a few weeks is crazy.”
Good job we’ve got this fella for three years then.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Don’t stop dreaming, just stop playing Benteke from the start. He throws us out of kilter. I’m sure he’ll get better with time and training but he doesn’t suit our setup. Great plan b though.
Could not agree more. He answered every question of the post match presser perfectly. Shades of Fergie I told my friends who I was watching it with. The man is a class act. BR would have shrugged this loss off, blamed the linesman and the fixture list. This man on the other hand is a winner, makes no excuses and just wants to improve. We’ll have better and worse days than today but I wouldn’t want anyone else in the world leading us through them than this man
shades of who ?
why wld u compare our great german with some red nose sh*thead that cursed and swore at pressers …
Greetings from Mainz. LFC fans should never lose confidence in their team nor single players. I am sure Liverpool will learn from this match and come back bigger. Despite this loss I am convinced LFC will make it to the top four this season.
There is no need to discuss particular players either like the Benteke discussions that started on other platforms, anyone can have a bad day at the office. The whole team was bad, but nothing to worry about in the long run. I think LFC will be serious challengers next season and contenders in two when eventual reinforcements will have fully integrated. Patience and belief will bring the league title, I am already looking forward to it.
Hi Martin of Mainz,
excellent points..and fully agreed..
True believer that we fans will enjoy every match under Klopp..and the upward trend will continue.
Hope FSG can ‘re negotiate Klopp contract to include a clause that “I, J. Klopp, shall not leave my position as Manager of LFC at least until I have delivered minimum of two league titles”…
Spot on Gareth, I’m not too concerned about this loss either in the grand scheme of things. I actually kind of saw it coming, what with all the title talk and people talking of cricket scores; football has a funny way of raising you up high only to boot you back down to the bottom of the hill when you least expect it. But we are still in the mix just based on the fixtures that we’ve already gotten out of the way, if not for the league then definitely the top 4!
The important thing now is how we react to the defeat. Last time we lost under Klopp we went out and won the next 4, we’ve got to do that again, we can’t start feeling sorry for ourselves and have our heads fall off after a bad defeat, as we have usually done in the past.
Man Utd were the masters of this under ferguson, they’d go somewhere like Norwich and put in an abject performance and lose, everyone would write them off, and then they’d go out and win the next 8 or 9.
This is a habit we have got to get into now and going by how we reacted to our last defeat I’m confident we can do it
It’s the manager’s job to be the ‘reality check’ to the press. They try to catch out a manager, particularly foreign ones not masters of english yet, so they can heap pressure on them. They love the ‘sack race’ so much they gave it a name. It’s part of the their game and it starts on day one in the first press conference.
Klopp is managing the press not the fans I think. So far though everyone loves Klopp which is good for us but there will come a time when the knives come out.
But about expectancy – it suited us in 13/14 when we were treated as the dark horse by press and opposition. We only started getting attention when well and truly on a roll and hard to stop. I think as fans we’ll get it right, we know when we’re good and we can sense when something is building.
Agree with the piece, our job now is to build the expectation in the ground so the atmosphere is a force for the team.
I was wondering if TAW know if the dispute between the club and the flag makers/wavers has been resolved?
Well written Gareth. It was a bad defeat in a game we should (on paper) have won but all teams will have these games this season. Yesterday probably felt worse because every other result went our way. Maybe we will look back at this result in a good way and use it as a wake up call. In 13/14 (yep keep harping back to that year) we went to Hull thinking we would easily win…..we were rubbish and got what we deserved…..we then went on to beat Norwich 5.1, West Ham 4.1, Spurs 5.0 away and Cardiff 3.1 in our next games and were top of table on Christmas day. The dream still very much alive.
Looking at the league, looking at other results, can’t say I am too bothered by yesterdays result, as long as it doesn’t become a habit.Thing is, for the first time since KK left, I trust in the manager to make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
I will see where we are Boxing Day, then think about what expectations are realistic for a team with a new manager, new to this league playing someone else’s signings.
We played shite and deserved a point.
Leicester are top.
Anything can happen.
Spot on from the first word til the last
Well, OK, but it is a worrying result because we have a long tradition now of getting ourselves into a position where we can make great strides if other teams slip up, but when they oblige we bottle it in our next game.
It very much felt like we turned up for an easy win yesterday and when Newcastle made it hard, we couldn’t raise our game. Talk of the title or even top 4 is meaningless if we can’t grind out a result when we need it.
Like Man U used to be, when you’re playing badly and go a goal down with 10 mins left, your attitude has got to be fuck it, we’ll win anyway, by any means necessary. We’re nowhere near that.
Klopp’s a winner, but too many of the players aren’t, and changing that mentality is his biggest task. I reckon he’ll have to bring in some of his own players, with stronger characters, before we collectively toughen up.
Just play Sturridge from the start and Benteke as the plan b battering ram if needed. Switch it. That starting lineup was appalling.
we will see that Plan A more from now on, once Sturridge can play full game on a weekly basis.
I believe Sturridge will start all league games and others will be used as plan B or C for cup runs and Europa league..
Did you notice the accents of the journos asking the snidey questions?
Geordies trying to be clever and stick the boot in to Klopp and get a reaction without realising it wasn’t him getting carried away it was us.
Morons youve just embarrassed yourself if you want to have some “bantz” have ago at us and we’ll ask you..When did you last win anything? And we’ll point out that, that defeat was a minor blip in whats going to be a special season whereas for you lot it will be the highlight of a season spent fighting relegation.
I appreciate TAW comment threads; they give me an opportunity to say more than 140 characters. The only thing worse than a loss like yesterday is the inevitable angst-driven moaning and hand-wringing that goes on for days afterwards. Our mentality is bi-polar flip-flop. We flip when we win, flop when we lose. And we let the media — who play football with their forked tongues and dainty fingertips — influence our thinking.
Gareth is right — our job is to support and enjoy. There will always be days that are less enjoyable than others — sometimes because we didn’t manage our own expectations particularly well. Suck it up and move on. The reason we get mocked is because we show off our own weakness by rushing to social media to tell the whole world how ‘gutted’ and ‘devo’d’ we are; to rip our own players to shreds because they were merely men on the pitch for 90 minutes and not gods with wingèd feet; to lapse back into old hatreds by posting stats comparing our new excellent manager who’s only been here for 5 minutes with the one we chopped up and left for dead an hour ago; to immediately go window shopping because the ‘beauties’ we raved about in recent weeks have suddenly lost all their talent and must be immediately binned a month from now.
There are times when the world does come crashing down on us — April 27, 2014 at Anfield was one of them. December 6, 2015 at St James’s Park was NOT one of them.
We got what we asked for — a world-class manager who even the mighty Alex Ferguson is worrying and obsessing over, and fans of all other clubs are wishing they had. Chill, dudes, and let him do his job.
You just gotta love folks commenting on THIS article by telling us what Klopp ought to have done (e.g. re Benteke).
Invaluable insight, that.
So… The cut off point for fan opinion on the game and the team in general was yesterday?
We’ll bounce back from this, Klopp has it under control, and surpassed reasonable expectations in his short tenure.
I want the Bar Codes to — finally — be relegated for so many reasons, probably one of the least of which is Sunday’s match: their consistent floundering at the bottom, only to be saved in the last weeks of a season; their constant revolving door of crap management; their utter dysfunction at the board level; and, most of all, their unbearable dickish fans, who guzzle shit brown ale like its water… I could go on and on.
On another note, while I’m not a gambling man, I have quietly picked the opposite of Sky’s Paul Mearson for each of the last 3 weeks, and by-in-large, the Redmen have essentially obliged.
Except that you are the other side of the table, and you still keep banging on about the title.
We’re not, we’re in the stands.
Isn’t it great to have a manager who tells it like he sees it? No trying to pull the wool over our eyes. What a guy!
He’s clearly sceptical about our infantile media. That’s a healthy posture.
A world away from the blag and hype minstrel show.
We need to look at the bigger picture here. Not league title 19, but pushing on to challenge every season. I hate the knee-jerkiness of the “support” at times. This was one of those games, just as Palace was. In fact, there were times in the Palace game where we looked brilliant which gets overlooked. I wasn’t despondent at the end of that game and I’m not now.
Jurgen will address this and we will come back stronger. It may actually be a blessing as it highlighted some areas which need immediate attention. With the January transfer window approaching, and a superb track record in the past, I’m certain Jurgen will come out smelling of roses.
Let’s see where we are at the end of January. In the meantime, fling some support behind the lads