Jurgen Klopp was quick to praise orange-growers for his Liverpool side’s performance against the mighty Slovenian side, Maribor, in the UEFA Champions League.
After beating a side that lies second in the Slovenian First League, Klopp revealed that five oranges a day were now bearing fruit.
“When I lived in Stuttgart we were surrounded by vineyards. For obvious reasons, they called it the ‘Stuttgart Cauldron’ – but they were forbidden fruit. My father always told us that happiness did not grow on trees or bushes in the hills.
Well, I was a young boy and watched the black and white (not Newcastle, ha, ha, ha) football matches on our television which was powered by hydro-electricity and elastic bands. The Dutch played total football and nearly beat West Germany in the World Cup Final – in our own backyard, Ja! Of course, this was unacceptable but I did learn that the Oranje were a power to be reckoned with.”
Jurgen moved to Mainz in Germany’s Rhineland where, living on a diet of coal and sausages he often saw the sun setting in the west over the flatlands of the Netherlands and remembered both his father’s words of wisdom and those childhood days filled with the orange of Cruyff, Neeskins and William the Silent.
At Borussia Dortmund, he started experimenting with new combinations and was often referred to as ‘the peeling alchemist.’
“For sure, I wanted to recreate what I had grown up with and lemons seemed to be a wonderful part of that journey. It was fantastic and, yes, there was some leakage but that yellow colour enabled the players to see each other more clearly, even when floodlights failed on warm, sunny days.”
“When I moved to Liverpool it was like taking on a team of blood oranges – and just down the coast from the home of Stanley Matthews who made tangerines more popular than sardines. There was much I felt I needed to do to get the combination right but, slowly but surely – our record of one win in the previous eight matches proves this – we are achieving the right colour and, for sure, the right blend, as we showed against Maribor.”
“We really concentrated our juices – especially in the second half – and the counter pressing; I was close to celebrating it, it was so good. They are a really good football team but they could not cope with this.”
“We have a lot of goals in us – Loris Karius in particular – and even Oxlade and Chamberlain scored which tells a lot about the rotation of the ball, I think. Alexander-Arnold scoring was especially good for him as he has been restricted to mandarins in training (nothing to do with the Chinese Super League, ha, ha ha). He is one for the future. I watch him on ‘Pointless’ every evening and still, he turns up for training on time each day and I think, Ja, he gets everything he deserves.”
Unaware that Liverpool’s 7.0 away win was a record in the European Cup/Champions League, Klopp reacted with typical circumspection:
“For sure it is great to be mentioned in the same sentences as Lyn or Shamrock Rovers but, well, Liverpool, its wonderful history can feel like a backpack at times so it’s nice to eat our own good slices of this story. When you release the oranges, the burden is lightened.”
As for Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley at the weekend, Klopp was upbeat:
“They also had a good result but it wasn’t the same as 7-0! Valencia would have been more of a challenge I think because of its oranges. It’s known as the ‘Orchard of Spain’ for a reason. Maybe my father got that bit wrong, Hills and trees and birds and bees – they all have a position to play; you just have to get the right blend and, one day, Liverpool too will play in orange and nearly win something.”