Klopp hits back at Neville after suggestions of Liverpool forgetting UCL
Jurgen Klopp has hit back after Gary Neville suggested that Liverpool should ignore the Champions League and focus on tethe Premier League, which they have a realistic chance of winning.
The Liverpool manager was taken aback by Neville’s comments and in response to the Sky Sports pundit said: ‘It’s a bit silly sitting in an office talking about football, it’s different to doing the job.’
Klopp, who led Liverpool to the Champions League final last year, also asked for Neville to come and explain to him how that would work and whether he should play the youth team.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the Tottenham match this Saturday, Klopp took aim at former Man United player Neville after he told Liverpool to forget about Europe’s elite competition.
‘How would that work? We don’t play Champions League or what?’ Klopp asked.
‘Gary should come over and tell me exactly how that works. How do you prepare for a game when you don’t focus on it? I don’t understand, do we play our kids or what?
‘I don’t want to be too critical as I don’t know exactly what or why he said it, but it’s a bit silly sitting in an office talking about football, it’s different to doing the job.’
In an interview with The Times, Neville said he thought Liverpool could win the league if they were able to rest their star men week on week, something they particularly need due to their pressing game.
‘The Champions League – if I was Liverpool, I would kick it into touch.
“I know that’s very hard to do but if they could go into February, March, April without it, I think they could have a real chance [of winning the league] if they had free weeks.’
Klopp also backed Dejan Lovren, who is close to making a return for the Reds, to continue improving, and defended the centre-back after his nightmare game at Wembley last season.
During that clash, Liverpool lost 4-1 to Tottenham and Lovren was hauled off the pitch after just 31 minutes with him responsible for Spurs’ first two goals.
‘He has come closer to his potential. I was never in doubt about Dejan. I could have changed 5 or 6 other players that day. I would never judge a player on 20 minutes of his life,’ Klopp explained.
‘There has not been too much talking about the situation and it was only about what I think about him. When he starts thinking the same about himself it could help him. My opinion is pretty high but his is pretty average.
‘Unfortunately he is not fit at the moment but I am sure he will be back in a pretty intense period with seven games in the next three weeks.’