Jürgen Klopp has an interesting way with words. Interviews with him always provide an entertaining soundbite or pull quote, and his recent sit down with Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail was no different. The manager talks about the sheer amount of football grounds packed into one tiny country:
"In England you have stadiums in the middle of the city. In London, you’ll be walking around and — 'Oh, there’s the ground'. Every area of the city has a Premier League club. They all survive, they all exist with enough money and that’s good."
He also discusses his famously angry scowl during contentious football matches. He was good-natured about it, but seems resigned to the fact that his default expression is one that literally scares children.
"That is my face for sport," he explains. "When I was a kid, when I played tennis, that’s how I was. I don’t like it, but I have to accept it. I cannot change my face in this situation. People want me to change it. They tell me, 'Jürgen, you have to, it’s not good'.
"I try with everything I have, but it doesn’t work. I’m that kind of person, I think. I sleep like that.
"If I see a little baby I make the same face. 'Oh come here, how cute you are.’ It’s not nice, I know. It looks emotional, but it looks aggressive too. One moment, 'Oh he’s so emotional' — the next, 'Woah, he looks like a killer'."
Klopp's plight is relate-able to those of us not blessed with a naturally cheerful default expression. To those of us who have to explain to our co-workers that, 'No, actually, I'm not mad at all, I'm just thinking'.
And besides, the incandescent joy that beams out of him when he's happy more than makes up for the occasional snare.
When it became clear, in fall of last year, that Brendan Rodgers's position at Liverpool Football Club had become untenable, Jürgen Klopp's name was the first on many fan's lists to replace him. The problem was that, after his long reign at Borussia Dortmund, he had vowed to take a sabbatical from football.
In the end, he cut short his vacation to take control of this flailing club, and recently he spoke about his thoughts at the time.
"I don’t sleep too long. Here is a moment when the club needs consistency in this chair — they need the right person and I am the right person, because most of the time I am really serious, but normal. ‘I am not saying there was no-one else around.
"The club would have found another manager, and I would have found another job — maybe an easier job. But I liked this club before I came here. It wasn’t a big decision for me. It was the only club that could have broken up my holiday. I had enough offers, I was saying, 'No, no, sorry, not now... ', and then came Liverpool. And I know how this sounds, and what people will say, but I fell in love.
"I felt responsible really quickly. It’s like if you are in my inner circle, my family, my friends. I felt Liverpool was both: family and friends."
In the wake of the summer transfer window slamming shut, Klopp also spoke about some of what he thought was wrong with the current football culture, and a lot of it mirrors what our best guy Chuck said about the manager and his player philosophy.
"This is a crazy time where football is, for some people, the most serious thing in the world, but no-one really cares about it," he opines. "Look at the transfers: all everyone wants to know is what happens. They never want to know what it means behind, for this team, for that team.
"It’s just, "Come on — give me the next big signing". To be cool enough to stay out of this colourful world around football, that is what I do. I’m not part of that, I’m not there, I don’t enjoy it."
Jürgen Klopp continues to be a fascinating and endearing man with a plenty of interesting things to say. The whole interview is worth a read and a good way to pass some of the long hours of a weekend without Liverpool to watch.