In his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s match with Southampton at the weekend, manager Jürgen Klopp was asked to speak on the fan protest that caused Liverpool’s last match to be postponed.
Klopp spoke of his reaction as he and the team watched the scenes unfold outside Old Trafford last weekend.
“We saw a few pictures from Old Trafford, we watched a little bit of telly in that time to get an idea about what is going on there. That’s it.
“Am I surprised that these kind of things happen? No, I am an absolute believer in democracy, [it] means I’m happy that people want to tell their opinion, that’s completely fine.”
Klopp did reference his previous comments about pundits’ seeming to stoke the flames of resentment, which had been criticized as being “tone deaf” by the likes of Gary Linekar on Twitter — critiques which likely held more weight before the events at the weekend.
“But I know in situations like that it doesn’t happen too often that nobody gets hurt and that’s why I said a week before I think already, when all the pundits were going and asking for protests and stuff like this, that we all have to be careful and to calm down and to ask for the right things.
“I don’t know exactly what happened there but I heard some policemen got injured and these kind of things should not happen, for sure not. You should not break down the doors and stuff like this.
“To tell your opinion, to tell the world what you think about some things, is completely fine as long as it’s completely peaceful. And it was, as far as I know, not completely peaceful and then it is not right anymore.”
Klopp’s prescience in predicting what might happen if pundits continued fanning flames of resentment seems incredible, though there is no way to know how much of the events at Old Trafford can be attributed to pundits’ urging.
Speaking on how the postponement affects his side, Klopp is more negative, and clarifies that Liverpool were not consulted as part of the decision-making process:
“We were informed about the process but we had nothing to do with it really. Yes, of course, I feel sympathy – it’s not how it should be. But it’s not good for us as well, to be honest.
“I would have preferred to have played the game last week; now we have five games in the last two weeks, so that’s not really cool as well. But it is like it is, nothing to complain about or whatever, it is just the situation.”
Despite his sympathy for the fans’ cause, Klopp finds himself frustrated at the further fitness challenge the Reds must face at the close of the season. For their part, fans will hope the “break” created by the protest will help Liverpool regain their winning form.