‘Shame it’s not like this with racism’: Premier League stars break silence on Super League as Klopp admits he knew nothing (VIDEO)
Jurgen Klopp said he was told on Sunday about Liverpool's plans to join the European Super League (ESL), claiming his squad had copped an unfair backlash as two players spoke out strongly against the controversial proposals.
Liverpool endured a frosty reception at Leeds for their Premier League game on Monday night, where their midtable opponents wore t-shirts with slogans reading "football is for the fans" following the shock news that the Reds are one of five English clubs to break away from established competitions to form a new multi-billion dollar league.
Klopp said his players had been challenged by members of the public, and Leeds players also wore a slogan reading "earn it" – a reference to the idea that the competition will largely dispense with qualification on merit. Banners were also seen in the stands while a plane brandishing a banner flew over Elland Road.
"I heard about it for the first time yesterday," admitted Klopp in terse post-match remarks to Sky Sports in which he also denied rumors that he will resign over the issue and said he felt responsible for the relationship the club has with its largely outraged fans.
"We got some information – it's not a lot, to be honest. It's a tough one. I cannot say a lot more about it because we were not involved in any processes, not the players nor me.
"We didn't know about it. We knew since yesterday, like you, about it. I know all the talk and I don't like it as well.
"Don't forget that we have nothing to do with it. People should not forget that you're dealing with human beings."
"We are in the same situation as you: we got the information and then we had to play football. It's not my decision. I will try to sort it somehow."
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw after a late equalizer in a match that was preceded by home boss Marcelo Bielsa making a wider point about greed in society.
“It shouldn’t surprise us," he told the BBC. "In all walks of life, the powerful look after their own and don’t worry about the rest of us.
🚨 | Jurgen Klopp speaks about the European Super League...The #LFC manager explains his thoughts on the breakaway proposals and reveals him and his players were not consulted on the decision.Watch #MNF live on Sky Sports Premier League now! pic.twitter.com/DLSXeT1Lze— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 19, 2021
“In the search for higher economic earnings, they forget about the rest. The powerful are more rich and the weak are poorer. It doesn’t do good to football in general.
“There are a lot of structures that should have prevented these forces from coming. Sincerely, I am not surprised because in all walks of life the same thing happens. So why wouldn’t it happen in football?"
England stalwart James Milner looked uncomfortable as he spoke about the saga but did not hold back in offering his opinion.
🗣 "I don't like it, I hope it doesn't happen."James Milner was asked about the introduction of the 'European Super League' pic.twitter.com/cvFAHbtjU9— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 19, 2021
"I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen," the veteran responded. "I can only imagine what's been said about it and probably agree with most of it.
"When it broke, yesterday, was the first we heard of it. The players have no say, so the welcome we got to the ground tonight felt a bit unjust. We're here to play football."
The many critics of the concept, which has enlisted 12 clubs initially, would also have been buoyed by Leeds top scorer Patrick Bamford's eloquent appraisal.
🗣 "It's amazing the amount of opera that comes in to the game when somebody's pockets are getting hurt, it's a shame it's not like that with racism."Patrick Bamford speaks openly about his thoughts on the prospect of a 'European Super League' pic.twitter.com/DolVMBBg7p— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 19, 2021
"It's amazing, the amount of opera that comes into the game when somebody's pockets are being hurt," the striker smiled.
"It's a shame it's not like it with all the things that are going wrong at the minute, racism and stuff like that.
"We've just seen pretty much what everyone else has seen on Twitter and stuff. We're like fans, really, and everybody else: talking about it, can't believe it and we're in shock.Also on rt.com ‘I expect it on Friday’: UEFA executive claims Chelsea, Real Madrid & Man. City will be thrown out of Champions League semi-finals
"I haven't seen one football fan who's happy about the decision. Without the fans, every single club would be pretty much nothing."
Liverpool are likely to be banned from the Premier League and Champions League next season if their participation in the ESL goes ahead.
“If you thought, 'what could make the year worse?' All that happened, the pandemic, all the injuries, other stuff and then that [the ESL] came up," Klopp rued to 5 Live Sport. "Another challenge... but we’ll get through somehow."Also on rt.com ‘Created by the poor, stolen by the rich’: Furious Manchester United fans protest club’s European Super League plans