“It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.” – George Washington
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That’s not to say that Liverpool fans are bad company — not by any stretch of the imagination. It is to say, however, that Jurgen Klopp did sound more than a little perturbed by the mass exodus he witnessed with more than 10 minutes still to be played during Liverpool’s 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
It was Klopp’s first defeat as Liverpool manager, and it’s probably fair to say the German tactician couldn’t believe his eyes as the Reds chased a late equalizer at Anfield. Klopp, on the fans’ early exit from Anfield — quotes from the Guardian:
“It is not a problem to lose a game. It happens in football but we have to learn. If we learn, we decide how strong we are, how good we are, how awake we are and how tired we are. Nobody else. We played on Thursday [at Rubin Kazan in the Europa League] but I decide if I am tired, nobody else. Today we needed a few minutes to come into the game. It was not enough. If everyone thinks we gave everything, then it is wrong.
“After the goal on 82 minutes, with 12 minutes to go, I saw many people leaving the stadium. I felt pretty alone at this moment. We decide when it is over. Between 82 and 94 [minutes] you can make eight goals if you like.
What I gather from the above quote is that the definition of “supporter” means something slightly different in England than what Klopp came to know during his 14 years leading Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. It will be interesting to see and hear how Liverpool’s boisterous fanbase responds in the coming days to Klopp’s mild criticism of the way they support their club.