A great deal is made of club captains in England, and especially at a club like Liverpool. Normally Jurgen Klopp has to swat away questions about transfer rumors, but with six different players wearing the captain’s armband in recent weeks, Kloppo had to address this issue as well.
“You only make too much of who wears it on the pitch,” Klopp said in a pre-match press conference.
“Jordan Henderson is our captain and is a perfect captain for us. If he’s not on the pitch, James Milner is our vice captain and if he’s not there then someone else has to wear it. They can’t wear the armband in the stands or on the bench!
“But they are still the captain. They have to do so many things around the dressing room for a big club like Liverpool. They have so many questions to answer, a lot of things to talk to me about. That’s the job.
“On the pitch you need to share responsibility. It was not in my plans to give it to how many, six different players? Sorry for that, but I am not disrespectful about this. I was captain myself for many years, it can be an important job, it depends on how you fill the role.
“In this club it’s maybe a little bit different because Stevie (Gerrard) was captain for, it feels like 25 years or so! So it’s normal that you talk about ‘who can fill this role?’
“But I think we did well in the last few years and I’m really happy with Jordan’s captaincy. My plan is not to find a line-up where one of our captains can be in. I make the line-up then I realise somebody has to wear the armband. That was different people in the last few weeks.”
Klopp was right to bring up Stevie G into the conversation. Liverpool were lucky to have a captain that also happened to be one of the best footballers in England and the first name on the team sheet for most of his years with the armband. If he was healthy, he played. That isn’t necessarily the case now, even when Henderson is healthy (a rare sight, these days, sadly).
Perhaps this is just one of those cultural issues that Klopp will just never see eye-to-eye on with the English press. The issue just isn’t a major one in his view.