Jürgen Klopp has said Sunday’s protests at Old Trafford demonstrated why he appealed for calm in the wake of the European Super League debacle.
The Liverpool manager supports the right of Manchester United fans to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership but believes a line was crossed when some entered the stadium, leading to the postponement of the clubs’ Premier League game, and police officers were injured. Their actions, he claimed, were the reason he called for restraint amid the anger of the Super League fallout, when pundits including Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher urged supporters to unite in protest at owners’ greed.
Klopp said: “I’m an absolute believer in democracy. That means I am happy that people want to tell their opinion. That’s completely fine. But I know in situations like that it doesn’t happen too often that no one gets hurt and that’s why I said the week before, when all the pundits were asking for protests, we need to be careful and calm down and to ask for the right things.
“I heard some policeman got injured and these kinds of things should not happen for sure. You shouldn’t break down the doors. To tell the world what you think about things is completely fine, as long as it is completely peaceful. As far as I know it wasn’t completely peaceful and then it is not right any more.”
Klopp, meanwhile, has insisted Roberto Firmino’s struggles are symptomatic of the team’s problems this season and not cause for concern in the long term. Firmino has not scored in his last 14 appearances and has only six goals this term.
Klopp said of the 29-year-old: “It is for sure a result of the season, but when the boys up front don’t score as often as we are used to then that doesn’t help. It’s not dreamland, you have to go through these periods, but it is temporary and not for ever. There is no doubt about that. Bobby is not old or tired or has lost everything. Not at all. We see everything in training. We have to make sure we bring that more often on the pitch and that is not only for Bobby. That is a general thing for us.
“When we lost our defensive stability because of injuries, everybody had to do differently in terms of protection and defending. That keeps you a yard further back, or five or 10 yards further back, and that keeps your focus away from an offensive situation because you are already thinking: ‘If we lose the ball we have to make sure that we get it back.’ A lot of complex things happened this year and that’s why it was so far the season we saw. There is absolutely no excuse, I hope that is clear, but it is a description of the situation.”
Liverpool are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea going into Saturday’s game against Southampton, with a game in hand, and Klopp is adamant that failure to qualify for the Champions League would not cause internal problems with his squad. “We are not kids in a candy shop who are not getting the candies,” he said. “We are responsible for the situation we are in and nobody will watch next season’s Champions League and lie in front of the television and cry if we are not involved. If somebody would struggle with that hopefully I would solve that situation early.”