Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s history of spats with reporters
An interview with Jurgen Klopp can, on occasion, resemble a verbal and intellectual assault course, with the Liverpool manager always alert to the wider implications that probing questions may have on him and his club.
On Tuesday night, a Spanish reporter became the latest of a handful of journalists to be on the receiving end of an uncompromising tirade from the German, who took issue with the suggestion that he was ‘angry’ with Diego Simeone.
The Atletico Madrid boss had refused to shake his counterpart’s hand after Liverpool’s dramatic 3-2 victory in Europe, but Klopp came down hard on the reporter stating that he was angered by the snub.
Jurgen Klopp furiously reacted to a reporter’s question about Diego Simeone earlier this week
‘Why was I angry? I am not such an idiot that you can [ask a] little bit question here. I was not angry at all,’ Klopp said.
‘Have a look. I can imagine you want to make a story out of that, but I wanted to shake his hand, he [Simeone] doesn’t want it.
‘In that moment I can understand that, he was running inside. He’s emotional, I’m emotional, and you are not a nice person because you want to make a story out of that.
The German boss has a track record of dismantling reporters during his time at Liverpool
‘You said I’m angry, when was I angry? Now I am angry because of your question, come on.’
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at other moments where Klopp has lost his cool with reporters while looking to fight his – and his club’s – corner.
Versus Des Kelly (round one) – November 28, 2020
Perhaps the most high-profile of Klopp’s exchanges came at Brighton last season, when an injury-hit Liverpool were facing up to the realisation that their title defence was slipping away from them after defeat by the Seagulls.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Fabinho had seriously hampered the Reds and Klopp had taken aim at the broadcasters for their role in imposing a congested fixture schedule on the top sides.
Jurgen Klopp and Des Kelly endured a war of words after the Liverpool boss hit out at BT Sport
And having criticised BT Sport for making their game a 12.30pm kick off, Des Kelly stood his ground with the German, making for an enthralling interview following their 2-1 defeat on the south coast.
‘Well you work for them,’ Klopp told Kelly, clearly furious with BT Sport. ‘Ask [former Sheffield United boss] Chris Wilder how we can work on that. I don’t know how often I have to say it, but you pick the 12.30 kick-offs.’
The row erupted when Kelly suggested that Klopp was ‘firing at the wrong target’, explaining that all 20 Premier League clubs agreed to the TV slots.
The Liverpool boss blamed the broadcaster for the Reds’ lengthy injury list last season
‘I’m sure 100 per cent you will get praise from this interview for getting it stuck on him,’ Klopp said as the interview wrapped up.
‘What I want to say is I only go for broadcasters because of the Wednesday to Saturday 12.30.’
This would be the first of two clashes between Klopp and Kelly over the TV schedule. To read the full transcript of the pair’s exchange at Brighton, click here.
Versus Niv Dovrat – February 7, 2021
Just over two months had passed since Klopp’s back-and-forth with Kelly, and Liverpool’s title hopes appeared all but over following a devastating 4-1 defeat by Manchester City at Anfield.
A Phil Foden masterclass saw City extend their lead over Liverpool to 10 points with a game in hand, all but ending the Reds’ hopes of back-to-back titles.
He blasted an Israeli reporter for ‘wasting a question’ after Liverpool’s defeat by Man City
And Klopp was in no mood to entertain a question from Israeli reporter Niv Dovrat on the margin between the two sides, informing the journalist that he ‘wasted a question’.
Klopp told Dovrat: ‘I really think you should prepare your job better to be honest. How can you ask that?
‘They are 13 points away, in my understanding, and these questions about becoming champions – do you really think that’s appropriate at the moment. We have only two questions and you waste one for that. Your fault, you had only two questions.’
Klopp then insisted that Dovrat was not allowed to ask anything else because his two allocated questions were used up, before eventually giving in to claim the Reds were thinking about a top-four finish.
Niv Dovrat asked Klopp what Liverpool’s heavy defeat by City meant for their title hopes
Journalist Dovrat later defended his questions to Klopp and branded the Reds manager’s angry response ‘unusual’.
He tweeted: ‘I have interviewed the Liverpool manager dozens of times over the past few years. Last night, I was exposed to a different and unusual response.
‘Looking back, I think the style, manner and tone of the question were appropriate. The manager disagreed with me.’
Versus Geoff Shreeves – February 7, 2021
Dovrat was not the only reporter to feel the wrath of Klopp that day at Anfield, with the German left disgruntled by Geoff Shreeves before and after the game.
Again, the Liverpool boss was unimpressed with Shreeves’ question regarding his side’s chances of retaining their crown, despite the significant margin between his and Guardiola’s side.
‘I don’t understand you, honestly,’ Klopp said. ‘The only thing you want to talk about all the time now is us becoming champions. Can you imagine… have you ever been the best sports commentator in the world? Do you think it’s still possible? Just try it.
Klopp also took aim at Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves before and after that game at Anfield
The German claimed Shreeves was looking for a ‘headline’ ahead of their crunch clash
‘We try. But if I say it’s possible, or it’s not possible, then we have another headline. Why would we do that? Let’s talk about a situation. If we are not interested then I don’t understand why we talk.
‘I’m not angry at all, I just don’t understand why the whole interview goes about us becoming champions again.’
After the game, Klopp took issue with Shreeves’ expression while he was answering a question.
He said: ‘In the end when you lose 4-1, it’s not our day but big parts of the game were brilliant from our side. Really good football, I see in your (Geoff Shreeves’) eyes you see it differently.’
Shreeves insisted that he was simply ‘looking intently’ at Klopp after the Liverpool manager was prickly towards him.
Versus Des Kelly (round two) – October 16, 2021
Eleven months after their dust-up at the Amex Stadium, Klopp and Kelly got stuck into each other once more, again over the TV schedule.
This rematch saw a prickly Klopp take a swipe at BT Sport for selecting Liverpool’s trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford as their 12.30pm kick-off, with Kelly once again defending the broadcaster during a terse interview.
Klopp and Kelly clashed again last week, once again over the topic of the TV schedule
Klopp was aggrieved by the absences of Fabinho and Alisson Becker due to quarantining rules after playing for Brazil, insisting that the pair would have been available had it not been for the early kick off.
‘Because we play at 12.30pm there was no chance that they’d play and that’s why we thought then to send them (to Spain),’ he said.
‘If we would have played tonight they would be here and we would have given it a try, but we play at 12.30pm and there was no chance. I think it was the broadcaster’s (BT) idea to have us at 12.30pm.’
Klopp blamed BT Sport for Alisson Becker’s (L) and Fabinho’s (R) absences at Watford
Kelly informed Klopp that BT had agreed for the game to be moved to a later kick-off time, but Watford refused to afford Liverpool the change.
But Klopp responded: ‘If you wouldn’t have set (the game for 12.30pm) we wouldn’t have had to apply (to change it).
‘Thank you very much for your help again, really thank you very much.’
Versus Patrick Davison – December 10, 2017
Klopp’s fiery interactions with journalists have been pretty consistent throughout his Liverpool tenure, with this one involving Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison unfolding almost four years ago.
The Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Anfield in a heated Merseyside derby, with Wayne Rooney grabbing a point for the visitors with a penalty late on.
However, Klopp was infuriated by the Toffees’ physicality, and his unhappiness was exacerbated after Davison asked the German for his thoughts on Dejan Lovren’s challenge on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the spot-kick.
Four years ago, Klopp told Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison he had no understanding of football
The boss and the reporter disagreed over Everton’s spot kick in the Merseyside Derby
Having explained that he did not think it was a penalty, Davison probed further, resulting in Klopp asking the reporter of his view on the penalty.
‘Okay, if you want my opinion – it doesn’t matter – I’d say soft…but it is a penalty,’ Davison said.
Klopp then burst into hysterics, saying: ‘Ha ha ha. Well, then we can stop the interview because I only want to speak with people that have a little bit of understanding of football.’
Davison explained that Sky’s pundits opined that the penalty decision was correct, to which Klopp responded: ‘Oh, then sorry, I am wrong, you are all right. When all the other people are right, then I must be wrong. Right?’
Davison asked one final question on withdrawing Mo Salah while Liverpool were 1-0 up before the interview ends with Klopp saying: ‘Sorry for all I said before’.
Verus German translator – December 10, 2019
While Klopp has shown a willingness to go into battle with reporters over the years, nobody is exempt from a dressing down – as one German translator found out two years ago.
The Liverpool boss called out a ‘s***’ translator after he misinterpreted Jordan Henderson’s answer during a press conference on the eve of their crunch match with Red Bull Salzburg back in December 2019.
Klopp wasn’t happy when the translator sat alongside him suggested Henderson said they would ‘go easy’ in their final group stage fixture.
In fact, captain Henderson, who was asked about Liverpool’s previous success in deciding group games and their status as reigning champions, had said ‘that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.’
In German, the manager said: ‘It’s s*** when next to the translator sits a coach who speaks German. The question was if the Champions League title from the last year helps us because we have always delivered in situations like this.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lost his cool with a ‘s***’ translator in a press conference
Klopp got annoyed when the translator made an incorrect translation for Jordan Henderson
‘He [Henderson] doesn’t talk about going easy in this game. We are aware of this challenge. He is speaking about all this normal stuff. You should really listen. Otherwise, I can do it by myself. It’s not too difficult.’
Then switching to English, he added: ‘I am in a competition mood already, I can tell you.’
In the post-match press conference following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Salzburg, Klopp apologised to the translator, admitting he should have dealt with the situation better.