Jurgen Klopp spoke passionately against Liverpool’s involvement in the European Super League following Monday night’s draw at Leeds, with Gary Neville a particular focus of his attention.
Twelve clubs, including Liverpool, made the bombshell announcement on Sunday that they intend to break away and form their own competition. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have also signed up. Indeed, the big three in Spain and Italy make up the 12 “founding” members.
Neville, speaking on Sky Sports after the announcement, was particularly critical of the Reds and his old club United.
He said: “I am disgusted by Manchester United and Liverpool the most. Liverpool, the pretend (with) ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (they are) the people’s club, the fans’ club.
“Manchester United – 100 years, born out of workers. And they are breaking away into a league without competition, that they can’t be relegated from?
“It is an absolutely disgrace. Honestly, we have to wrestle back power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league, and that includes my club.”
Klopp responded to those comments, and admitted it’s been a difficult 24 hours for the club.
The Reds chief told Sky Sports: “I take the criticism for everything. I take it if we don’t play well, I feel responsible for these kinds of things and the players feel the same.
“But this we have nothing to do with to be honest, and now people write articles about what they should do with us as a club.
“When we came here, the supporters were shouting at us. When we had a walk today, people were shouting at us in the city.
“You have to be a little bit careful, we are people as well and we know since yesterday just like you. It’s an emotional situation.
“Gary Neville talks about ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, that should be forbidden to be honest. We have a lot of rights to sing that anthem and it’s our anthem, not his anthem. He doesn’t understand it anyway so I really don’t want these things because it’s not fair.
“All the talk is around and I don’t like it as well, but I don’t talk about other clubs like this. We can be emotional but I wish Gary Neville would be in a hot seat somewhere, not where the most money is.
“Whether it’s at Man United where the most money is, Sky where the most money is. Don’t forget that we have nothing to do with it.
“We are in the same situation as you all, we got information and we still had to play football and you deal with us already like this. That’s really not OK.”
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Neville bites back after Klopp rant
Following the interview, Neville was asked if his criticism of Liverpool was unfair.
He responded: “Why? Why is it not fair?
“I’ve handed enough insults out to Liverpool over the years. Yesterday was nothing about insulting Liverpool Football Club.
“I don’t know why I’m living in his head to be honest with you. I don’t know what spiked him.
“Yesterday was an impassioned plea from me about football and protecting football in this country and my biggest disappointment was with Manchester United and Liverpool.
“I think I’ve equally distributed enough criticism to both clubs in the last 24 hours, so I don’t know what his problem is.
“He talks about hotseat, I had a 25 year career at Manchester United, 11 years at Sky and I worked hard for that. I’ve not been handed it, I’ve not gone where the most money is, I didn’t have choices.
“Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t say every year, ‘Gary do you want to stay here?’ So I have no idea what he’s going on about.
“I employ 600 people in the city, I tried to look after them through a pandemic, is that not a hot enough seat for him?
Neville a Klopp fan
“He’s done a great job at Liverpool, I’ve got no problem with Jurgen Klopp, I loved his team.
“But the fact of the matter is he’s spiky, he’s been let down by his owners. His owners have thrown him under a bus.
“To be fair, we’re on the same page, we’re actually on the same team, but the fact of the matter his he can’t say what he wants to say and I can, and I accept that.
“The Jurgen Klopp we know, you know and the Liverpool fans know, he hates every single little thing about this more than I do, more than you do, because it goes against every little thing he believes in.
“He’s been let down by his owners and so have those players at Liverpool.”
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Second-half display cost Liverpool
As for the game at Elland Road, Klopp added: “It is disappointing of course. But we cannot say it was not deserved for Leeds. We had big chances in the first half but didn’t use those.
“When you concede a goal it is not nice but it was not that is was not deserved.
“We’ll fight for the Champions League with all we have and if we can reach it, if not if not. This a point more in the end.
“It is always best to win all the games. But if not we have to shake a bit and go again and that is what we will do.”