Is Jurgen Klopp really football’s Mr. Nice Guy?

Jurgen Klopp is football’s Mr Nice Guy. Despite his Liverpool side missing out on winning the Premier League, Klopp was named League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year this week. The German was also named Premier League Manager of the Year. It’s not the first time Klopp has won both awards in the same season, voted on by his fellow managers. Everyone seems to agree: Klopp is a brilliant coach and a gentleman. Is there anyone who doesn’t like him?

Perhaps we should ask the journalists Klopp has disparaged at press conferences over the years. Irritated post-game interviews are something of a Liverpool manager’s specialty, after all.

Capture the moment earlier this season when Klopp clashed with a reporter after his side were beaten 3-2 by West Ham. The journalist asked Klopp about the reference standard: “My God. i am not your puppy I hope you have your own opinion,’ he replied.

Or what about that moment last February when he berated a reporter who had the audacity to ask if Liverpool were still in contention for the title after beating Man City 4-1? It was a legitimate question to ask a man who heads a team worth over £500m. But Klopp disagreed:

“I really think you should prepare your job better, to be honest. How can you ask that? … We only have two questions and you’re wasting one for that. Your fault you only had two questions.’

Liverpool’s manager snubbed a BT Sports expert for planning football matches back in November 2020. Klopp told the broadcaster’s Des Kelly:

“I don’t know how many times I have to say it: they pick us for 12:30 kick-off. you chose it Not you personally. But you did it, didn’t you? We at 12.30. Between now and December and New Years there is another Wednesday and Saturday at 12.30pm.

That bizarre tirade seemed to ignore a simple fact: the billions of pounds that broadcasters pour into football – and ultimately into the pockets of the likes of Klopp himself – for the rights to broadcast matches. It’s also weird and unfair to single out a journalist for doing his job.

An exciting interview between Jürgen Klopp and @TheDesKelly on Liverpool’s draw with Brighton, the Reds’ injuries and the game plan.

– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 28, 2020

It’s not just reporters who have felt Klopp’s wrath over the years. If a result doesn’t go to Liverpool’s expectations, the referee can also find himself in the line of fire. Klopp received a yellow card after berating the referee in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham just before Christmas. Klopp confronted the referee at the end of the game to tell him:

“Honestly, I have no problem with umpires, just you. You’re not giving us that penalty – you’ve never played football.

That season, Klopp also almost clashed with another manager, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, during a Premier League game. The Liverpool manager – as well as his Arsenal counterpart – received another yellow card for that ugly episode.

Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with referee Paul Tierney after the game 😳

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 19, 2021

Klopp also lost his composure on another occasion this season when asked about his support for allowing teams to field more substitutes. Inevitably, this scheme would favor the wealthiest clubs like Liverpool, whose substitutes can cost as much as an opposing team’s entire squad. But those who dare even hint at it face the Liverpool manager’s wrath:

“I can’t believe someone who makes their living talking about football still doesn’t get it… Nobody thinks it’s a tactical advantage. A few people think, ‘That’s why Klopp wants five changes because he can take these guys forward.’ It has nothing to do with that.’

Is it unfair to pick on Klopp when he’s reacting like this in the heat of the moment? Is that just his passion for winning? Maybe. Liverpool’s legions of fans would certainly say so. The German is a hero to those at Anfield for having brought success and wealth to a club that had been short of both in recent years until his arrival.

Not long after taking the job at Liverpool, Klopp famously told a tabloid journalist that he would no longer be answering his questions. “I’m not talking to him Sun more,” he told the confused reporter. “It’s not personal, but you still work for them SunTo the right?’

Klopp immediately won admiration for this soundbite on Merseyside; He had taken over a newspaper that had few admirers in this part of the world. Was Klopp right to take a stand? Maybe. But it wasn’t brave. Whatever Klopp thinks of it Sunhe spoke to a man who was just trying to do his job.

So, yes, Klopp is funny, witty and charming. And when his Liverpool side triumph over Real Madrid in the Champions League final tomorrow, he’ll flash his ivory teeth and say something witty. But if they lose, maybe we’ll see a different side of Jurgen Klopp.

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