For sure, Jürgen Norbert Klopp is not a man to make excuses.
In four games against Southampton this season his Liverpool side has failed to score a single goal. In the latest mini-series which is not brought to you via Netflix or Sky Sports Box Sets, four teams and Arsenal are trying to make it into the top four of the Premier League and, thus, gain Champions League qualification. Entitled ‘Keane’s Heroes,’ the weekly struggles of ordinary football managers from Argentina, Germany, Spain, Portugal and France to learn to speak English properly, and simultaneously not make excuses, has captured the imagination of everyone beyond the Yellow Brick King’s Road. OK, maybe not in Blackburn.
Jürgen is not, for sure, impressed with Southampton’s record of no shots in either league game against The Reds this season suggesting that, “they have a specific way of playing” and perhaps, drawing on all his vast experience in managing sides that have nearly been successful, even implying that you need to score a goal if you want to win football matches. He presumably settled for Liverpool having 32 shots on target in both league games, without scoring … which is not only specific but hard to achieve.
Jürgen didn’t want to come over in his post-match interview as a ‘bad loser’ and so he left it to those journalists who had woken up from ninety minutes of slumber.
“You saw what happened; write it and nobody will read it” he barked, in a manner of controlled possession and rapidly increasing desperation. “The headset of the fourth official was faulty.”
Not only did this not explain why the entire match was one of the poorest in living memory (provided you hadn’t been dozing in the sunshine from the beginning), but Jürgen is a fair man and didn’t reveal that all four officials were actually enjoying ‘Elaine Page on Sunday.’ Streamed faster on Radio 2 than any player managed on the pitch, this was also the biggest audience Elaine has ever achieved on the radio, or live, so quite a nice gesture really.
Jürgen was also magnanimous over Fraser Forster taking his time to prepare for James Milner’s spot kick, during which he kindly had a little chat with James (just to take his mind off the pressure of it all a bit) about England’s prospects in Russia next year.
“Four minutes! That’s ambitious,” roared Jürgen, “but, look, there’s nothing I can do about it. We have to look forward to playing West Ham now – just like Tottenham did before they, like our dearly, almost departed neighbour, Ronald Koeman, decided that the Premier League is not for them. West Ham are in a positive end of season finishing mood and we must prepare for this. Yeah, the passports are packed but the sun cream? The Japanese-English-German book of useful phrases? Jilly Cooper?”
“It was dry and we also had wind.” Jürgen wasn’t actually writing his postcards on the beach at this point after a heavy lunch of Schnapps and those huge sausages that must make every toad quiver in anticipation. He was, of course, referring to the Anfield pitch, but not in an excusable way, obviously. He is not a man to come up with a reasonable defence, after all.
When Jürgen must have thought all the barbed questions must surely be over and, thankfully, before the antidote to the Sky TV truth drug wore off, he was faced with the prospect of being asked how his record compared with that of Brendan Rogers. With all the cleverness, creativity and tactical awareness that was once a feature of Liverpool’s midfield, Jürgen did not mention Brendan’s capacity for ridiculous statistics “I’ve always worked along the statistic, that if you can dominate the game with the ball you have a 79% chance of winning a game of football.” or ridiculous elevation in a league which included the triumvirate of Inverness, Caledonian and Thistle.
Instead, he let his feet do the talking. Perhaps suspecting him of being a Pied Piper, Liverpool’s players have ingeniously and consistently failed to follow his example all season.
Follow me on twitter: @footballground