Jürgen Klopp does things differently. This is what we love about the man. In a league where Coach Speak™ is the lingua franca, Klopp lets loose with a charming verbal waterfall of directness and humor. Whereas the average manager wears a suit and overlooks the pitch with a stern look and a pretense of authority, Klopp dresses in training gear and wears his emotions on the sleeve of his New Balance jacket. And while most managers watch penalties with bated breath like the rest of us, Klopp can't bear to watch, instead letting the crowd's reaction inform him.
We first saw Klopp turn his back to the on-field proceedings when James Milner stepped up to the spot in late November against Bordeaux. Two months later, and he still can't look, though in this case he cited other factors that went into his decision to sit.
"No. Not superstition. It was a mixture," Klopp explained in his post match press conference, "Usually I want to see but with the first row of the stands, [the fans] couldn't see anything. I can't be on my knees for 50 minutes - I had an ACL 20 years ago and it's still not 100 percent! That's why I sat on a chair and you could see nothing. And it felt good, to be honest, only watching the crowd. In the end, we won without me watching and that's good."
He was quick to deny his habit as being a superstition, but I can't help but feel like there's just a wee bit of superstition involved. If it is due in part to superstition, well, it's clearly working.
Liverpool are now headed to Anfield South for a League Cup final against either Manchester City or Everton. And is is the case with any final, there's always a good chance that we'll see penalties--and Klopp's habit of not watching them--again.