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James Milner almost got into a fight with Jurgen Klopp, says Ragnar Klavan


You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Jurgen Klopp (Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp and James Milner once almost got into a fight as tensions between the pair reached boiling point, according to former Red Ragnar Klavan.

The German boss is well known for his excellent man management and ability to form a strong bond with his players.

But under a pressurised environment Klopp’s temper can come out and back in 2017 Milner ended up taking the brunt of it as the pair clashed after a 2-2 draw with Sunderland saw them fall behind Chelsea in the title race.

When asked about Klopp’s hairdryer treatment, Klavan told the Betsafe Eesti podcast: ‘The biggest pressure was around Christmas and at the beginning of January.

‘One time, I don’t remember who we played against. Maybe it was against Sunderland away.

‘Klopp and James Milner almost started a physical fight. It was the period when there was Boxing Day in England and they almost started fighting but eventually Milner stepped back.

‘We saw from his eyes that Klopp would have gone all the way just to prove his point. It was the most stressful time for him as well. He was under a lot of pressure.

Jurgen Klopp and James Milner once came to blows (Picture: Paul Ellis/ AFP)

‘It was my first and Klopp’s second year. What are you going to do? You’re supposed to be a good coach. You are Jurgen Klopp who will make superstars of all players. The pressure started getting to him.

‘It’s not supposed to be easy, but if you don’t deliver against a team like Sunderland, then you can forget about the places you had hoped for.’

Klavan made 39 league appearances for the Reds between 2016 and 2018 and saw first hand the start of Klopp’s project as they reached the final of the Champions League in 2018.

Ragnar Klavan has given an insight into what it’s like playing under Jurgen Klopp (Picture: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

And the Estonia international has praised the inspiring team talks his former boss would give his players in order to get the best out of them.

He added: ‘What I didn’t have with other coaches in team meetings is he never repeated himself. He always talked from a different angle or there was a slight joke in it.

‘He sensed the player and the team so well. He knew when to say what.

‘If he saw there were problems in the team, he could turn it around with a simple joke or vice versa, when the team didn’t take it too seriously, then he showed them who’s boss.

‘That, for me, is his phenomenon. That he can read the team so well, and individually as well.’

Liverpool will hope to continue their unbeaten start in the league this season when they travel to Brentford on Saturday.


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