Jurgen Klopp has been extremely outspoken on his trip to the USA with Liverpool so far, and that trend has continued.
Tell us how you really feel, Jurgen…
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Ahead of Liverpool’s International Champions Cup clash against bitter rivals Manchester United on Saturday at Michigan Stadium, Klopp has called Sergio Ramos “ruthless and brutal” when asked, once again, about Ramos’ involvement in Mohamed Salah’s shoulder injury in the UEFA Champions League final in May.
“We are opening that bottle again?“ Klopp said. “It is action-reaction-action-reaction and I don’t like that but – if you watch it back and you are not with Real Madrid – then you think it is ruthless and brutal. I saw the ref taking charge of big games at the World Cup and nobody really thinks about that later. But in a situation like that somebody needs to judge it better. If VAR is coming then it is a situation where you have to look again. Not to give a red card but to look again and say: ‘What is that?’ It was ruthless.
“I’m not sure it is an experience we will have again – go there and put an elbow to the goalkeeper, put their goalscorer down like a wrestler in midfield and then you win the game. That was the story of the game. Ramos said a lot of things afterwards that I didn’t like. As a person I didn’t like the reactions of him. He was like: ‘Whatever, what do they want? It’s normal.’ No, it is not normal. If you put all of the situations of Ramos together then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos.”
We know Ramos’ reputation supersedes him with his red cards, late challenges and fiery attitude as he also caught Loris Karius in the head in the second half and it was later revealed Liverpool’s German goalkeeper suffered a concussion and likely played a big part in the two goals which cost Liverpool in their 3-1 defeat in Kiev against Real.
Klopp, and Liverpool, haven’t forgotten Ramos’ actions and are still feeling let down by the officials two months since the final. Had VAR been available to use, there’s a big chance Ramos would have been booked for a foul on Salah and then maybe picked up a second yellow for his late challenge on Karius, so who knows what kind of difference that would have had on the outcome of the game.
Ramos aside, Klopp then issued the following response to Mourinho’s comment that Liverpool must challenge for the Premier League title and win something this season after spending over $330 million on new talent in 2018, including goalkeeper Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.
“I heard he was smiling when he said it and he found it funny. So I am really happy that Jose is smiling. It doesn’t happen often,” Klopp said. “ I don’t think so. Do Iget the sack if not? Depends on the football we play. A big part of the job is to play football that our people like. It happened last year and the year before but now we want to make the next step. Our opponents have not slept and they too have brought better players in.”
Klopp’s one goal in life appears to be to get Mourinho to smile more, which is a noble act, especially when you’re manager of his rival team.
But does Mourinho have a point?
With no trophy and three major final defeats during his two-and-a-half seasons in charge at Anfield, Klopp will surely know that this season he will be judged on if Liverpool can seriously challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title and if they collect any other silverware along the way.
This falls in line with the famous Tottenham Hotspur debate too: do Liverpool have to win something for Klopp’s time to be considered a success?
As he mentioned, like Mauricio Pochettino has many times with Spurs, he has created a team which plays free-flowing attacking soccer, scores goals and has brought through young, promising talent.
Mourinho’s mind games are starting a little earlier than usual but Klopp can expect plenty of similar comments from rivals managers throughout 2018/19 if the Reds don’t get off to a flier in the PL and in European competition. For Liverpool and Klopp, the pressure is on.