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Klopp Doesn’t Want the Blame for Any Missed Penalties

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Superstition means Jürgen Klopp turns his back whenever James Milner steps up to take a penalty.

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Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It can be easy to take penalty goals for granted, especially for Liverpool fans who spent a decade watching Steven Gerrard reliably putting his away. After the former captain departed, though, the club spent a few seasons without a player who seemed like a lock to convert those chances

At least until James Milner, the converted fullback who now has seven league goals this season, all from the spot, stepped into the role. And it hasn’t taken long for him to make it seem as though a penalty given is as good as a goal. That still doesn’t mean that Jürgen Klopp wants to watch them.

“I don’t want to touch wood, but I hope it stays like this,” the manager told the club’s official website when asked about his decision to turn away from the pitch whenever Milner steps up to the penalty spot to try to convert a penalty, which is something he’s done at a 100% rate so far this season.

And he hopes it stays like this because, for Klopp, turning his back on penalties isn’t something he’s always done. It’s just something he’s always done when it’s Milner stepping up, at least from the start of the season, and he’s worried the first time he turns around will be Milner’s first miss.

“The only reason I don’t watch them is because from the start of the season he is doing a job well without my support,” Klopp explained. “So that’s why. I don’t want to be responsible if he fails one or misses one! That’s the only reason.”