Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Klopp deems his views on coronavirus “not important”

Posted on 6 March 2020 by Tusdiq Din

It was the kind of non-match related question which some managers can feel uncomfortable with. Jurgen Klopp had just seen Liverpool exit the FA Cup in a high octane FA Cup 5th round encounter against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Tuesday. The records will show that Willian and former Evertonian Ross Barkley secured Chelsea’s progression in this year’s competition.

Having fulfilled his post-match television and radio duties, Klopp now sat in front of the assembled ranks of the world’s written media and dissected his side’s performance. He offered backing to Liverpool’s stand in goal keeper Adrian, despite his error which lead to Chelsea’s opening goal, and elaborated on Liverpool’s recent three game loss from their last four.

Embed from Getty Images

Klopp elected not to elaborate on Liverpool’s coronavirus preventative measures 

Several minutes later, Liverpool’s’ media officer indicated that the next question would be Klopp’s last of the night. A well intentioned question on how the club and the players have adapted following the outbreak of coronavirus however irked the Liverpool manager.

“Look, what I don’t like in life is that a very serious thing, a football manager’s opinion is important. I don’t understand it. I really don’t understand it. It’s not important what famous people say. We have to speak about things in the right manner, not people with no knowledge like me, talking about something,” said the German manager.

Klopp was now as animated as he had been on the touchline earlier. His inquisitor pressed on by trying to clarify what his question meant. But the Reds’ manager now raised his voice to drown out that of the other speaker.

“People with knowledge will talk about it and should tell the people ‘do this, do that, do this,’ and everything will be fine, or not. Politics, coronavirus, why me? I wear a base(ball) cap and have a bad shave. My opinion is really not important.”

It was stunning stuff, but in the current climate, a legitimate question. Are the Liverpool players still shaking hands with each other and the club’s staff? What precautions have been put in place, are hand gels and sanitizers freely available at Melwood ? We never got to find out.

Embed from Getty Images

Player and manager handshakes will be scarce following Coronavirus

Was Klopp right to play a straight bat to the question?

People listen to Klopp. His words carry weight and with an educated response, he could have sent an even stronger message to the footballing world on best practice to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

For a well read, and educated man like Klopp to duck the question seemed odd, even if it wasn’t really about the match we had all been engrossed in. Klopp however has spoken about non-footballing matters in the recent past, and with great knowledge too. Asked about Brexit in 2018, Klopp was more forthcoming.

Embed from Getty Images

Klopp was coy on Coronavirus after FA Cup loss to Chelsea

“The EU is not perfect but it was the best idea we had. History has always shown that when we stay together we can sort out problems. When we split then we start fighting. There was not one time in history where division creates success,” he said.

On a disappointing night for Liverpool, a unified answer on Liverpool’s advice to their personnel on preventing the speared of coronavirus might have been the best result Klopp could have had.

The Government announced on Friday evening that they will meet with sporting authorities, leagues and broadcasters on Monday to discuss contingency plans in light of Coronavirus.