While in Germany for long-time Borussia Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller’s farewell match at Signal Iduna Park, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp got drawn into a conversation about the national team’s shock first round exit at the 2018 World Cup. Unsurprisingly, the straight-shooting Klopp had some things to say, and was perhaps unusually pointed in his defense of national team manager Joachim Löw.
“The way the manager had to justify himself, to explain the sport to the entire nation, I found it all to be a bit much,” noted Klopp. “You’ve all taken [the reaction to the exit] a bit too far.”
“Take a deep breath, play football, and Germany will be winning games again, I promise you that.”
The consternation over the national team’s performance reached a fever pitch in the immediate wake of Germany’s 0-2 defeat at the hands of South Korea, which saw Löw’s side, the then-defending world champions, tumble embarrassingly out of the tournament. Before that, Löw had already come under increasing criticism for odd decisions (such as omitting Manchester City’s Leroy Sané) and the squad’s lackluster play).
Things only got worse following the tournament with Mesut Özil’s retirement from international football and the ensuing discussion about racism at the highest levels of the DFB (German Football Association), in which, it must be said, many of the most prominent figures in German football have not exactly come off looking good.
There was a brief period during which it was thought that Löw might be gone, a situation which might have caused some concern among Liverpool supporters given that Klopp was identified as a possible replacement. Klopp had downplayed any interest in the national team job, reiterating that he was quite happy at Liverpool. While there’s no reason to doubt that is the case, there will surely be a contingent of Reds who hope that Löw’s position remains occupied for a very long time.