Jurgen Klopp has shut down idiotic coronavirus questions – and he’s right, it’s really not important what famous people say
Klopp was asked after Liverpool’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat in London whether his club was concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed upwards of 3,000 people worldwide and infected more than 90,000.
“On a wider question about the coronavirus, are you as a team, as a club, worried about the wider spread of it and how it might affect you?” it was put to Klopp.
Quite what answer was expected is unclear – beyond the usual trope of “we’re all human, we don’t want people to die, we’ll see how things pan out” – but Klopp was in no mood to even dignify the question with a copy-paste answer.
“What I don’t like in life is that a very serious thing, a football manager’s opinion is important,” the German began.
"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."Jurgen Klopp says he is not qualified to talk about coronavirus, insisting he is 'just a man in a baseball cap'. pic.twitter.com/KBeaJ1zggd— Sky Sports (@SkySports) March 4, 2020
“I don’t understand that. I really don’t understand it, if I asked you, you are in exactly the same role as I am.
“So 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.
“People with knowledge will talk about it and tell people to do this, do that, and everything will be fine, or not. Not football managers, I don’t understand that,” Klopp added, really warming to his diatribe.
“Politics, coronavirus, why me? I wear a baseball cap and have a bad shave.
“I’m concerned like everyone else. I live on this planet and I want it to be safe and healthy, I wish everybody the best, absolutely. But my opinion on coronavirus is not important.”
Was that an unnecessarily prickly response from a man whose team have gone from being on an invincible run to suffering three defeats in their past four games?
But with the coronavirus spreading by the day, and with complex discussions at higher levels about how sporting events will or won’t proceed, Klopp was unlikely to offer anything close to a precise breakdown of how the virus would affect his team.
Do we really believe that a football manager trying to orchestrate a first league title for his team in 30 years, while at the same time defending their Champions League title, would also preoccupy himself with an acute problem currently being fretted over by some of the world’s brightest medical minds?
Any decisions on what the coronavirus means for Liverpool will be taken elsewhere, and on the recommendations of others far more clued-up than Klopp.
He could, of course, have trotted out the same line that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard did when he was asked about the coronavirus situation: “As a manager, yes [I’m concerned about the spread of the virus]. As a father, yes. As a husband, yes. I think we are all in the same boat as that is concerned.
“We are taking all the right courses of action here within the club and I am as concerned as the rest of us, I guess.”
Not exactly much insight into how the virus will affect Chelsea, and certainly not much to scrape a headline out of, let alone a standalone story of any real worth.
Klopp’s approach was far more refreshing, giving short shrift to questions which go far beyond his remit.
As Klopp said, when it comes to virulent outbreaks the likes of which the world has never seen before, he is but a mere football manager in a baseball cap.
You could side with the journalist for trying to get a juicy, doom-laden titbit for a headline or a breezy dismissal of the crisis by Klopp, which might be equally cast as ‘newsworthy’ or at least topical.
But that seems a stretch, and it’s hard to see exactly how Klopp is expected to shed light on the coronavirus situation at Liverpool or elsewhere.
A similar, if more typically down-to-earth take, was offered by affable Ireland manager Mick McCarthy when he was asked about the virus at the draw for the UEFA Nations League in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
After initially taking a lighter tone on the issue, saying that “it’s not in his hands,” McCarthy added: “I’m being flippant about it but what can I do about it?”
"Is it in my hands? Well, it might be in my hands..." Mick McCarthy when asked if he considered staying away from the #NationsLeague draw due to the Coronavirus threat. #COYBIG 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/mclvvkKcKR— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 4, 2020
Indeed, what can McCarthy or Klopp do compared to the next layman?
Looking at it more broadly, many could take a leaf out of Klopp and McCarthy’s book on matters far beyond their competence.
We see celebrities of all stripes churning out their endless political opinions and various musings about the state of the world, more often than not backed up by scant expertise and even less in the way of evidence.
Sometimes it’s better to just pipe down and admit you’re out of your depth.
So a note to the rich and famous – as well as the people who interview them – if it concerns something beyond your competence, just admit it, rather than wade in.
As Klopp says, your opinions on some matters are as important as anyone else’s, which means they really aren’t that important at all.
By Liam Tyler