For all of the feigned outrage and clutching of pearls from rival fans and pundits, Jurgen Klopp’s last-minute celebration over Divock Origi’s spectacularly, stupendously, tremendously lucky winning goal over Everton amounted to nothing more than a £8,000 fine and a light slap on the wrist. If Liverpool always left it until the very end like that against their biggest rivals, it might be another story.
Either way, Liverpool legend and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was asked about the celebration and—to the surprise of no one—he supports Kloppo.
“He ran about 30 yards less than me when I celebrated a goal!” Gerrard told The Glasgow Evening Times.
“Listen, it’s an emotional sport and an emotional game. You win a derby in the 96th minute, emotions naturally take over your body and your decision making.
“I can understand it. I love Jurgen Klopp for who he is. He’s real, he’s authentic.
“Of course, us as managers have a responsibility to try and tame it as much as we can, but sometimes that it is difficult. He’s come out and apologised and it is what it is.
“I think there is a big problem in this sport if we take celebrating out of it. Of course you must respect the opposition managers and coaches, but to celebrate a big win or a big goal, I want that to stay.”
Football is an inherently tense and emotional sport. And a last-gasp winner in a derby is about as exciting as the sport gets. In a perverse way, those 95 minutes of fear and frustration leading up to the goal made the final breakthrough all the better.
Liverpool fans watching that match the world over, whether in the stands, at a pub, or at home, had massive celebrations from that one moment. Of course, managers are rooting just as much, if not more, than the rest of us. Whereas I frightened the dog with my ecstatic cheers, Klopp sprinted across the pitch to hug Alisson. I think most of us, Gerrard included, would have preferred to be in Klopp’s shoes.