Andy Hunter – The Guardian
Jürgen Klopp has said he was moved to tears by footage of NHS staff singing You’ll Never Walk Alone and hopes the response to the coronavirus pandemic will generate greater solidarity across the world.
The Liverpool manager has given his first full interview since the Premier League season was suspended on 13 March and said any problems he may have – such as when football may resume and Liverpool may win the league – are “embarrassing” compared with the global crisis.
He paid tribute to the frontline medical workers putting themselves at risk to treat the sick, many of whom have sung the Liverpool anthem while on duty.
Klopp said: “It’s extraordinary. I think yesterday I was sent a video of people in the hospital just outside the intensive care area and when they started singing You’ll Never Walk Alone I started crying immediately. It’s unbelievable. But it shows everything, these people not only work but they have such a good spirit.
“They are used to helping other people; we need to get used to it because usually we have our own problems and stuff. But it’s their job, they do it day in and day out. They bring themselves, if you want, in danger because they help ill, sick and seriously handicapped people, so I couldn’t admire them more and appreciate it more.”
Klopp insisted spirits remain high among his players and staff. He has watched the Taken trilogy “again” and tried to replicate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dance routine. “Not as bad as you probably think,” he said.
On a much more serious note, Klopp hopes there can be a lasting and positive legacy from the response to the pandemic. “In the future, in 10, 20, 30, 40 years, if we look back and the conclusion is that this was the period when the world showed the biggest solidarity, the biggest love, the biggest friendship or whatever, that would be really great.
“So in the moment when you go through a phase or a period like this it’s not possible to see that, especially not for the people who are ill, but there will be a point in the future, a moment in the future when we look back and hopefully then we can see it like this. Because that’s the solution for it – we all have to be disciplined, we all have to work together, we all have to take care of each other and that’s the solution for this problem.”
Klopp, speaking to the club’s website, added: “There are so many people out there that have much bigger problems so it would feel really embarrassing to myself if I was to talk about my ‘problems’ – I have the problems every person in the world has in the moment. That’s the lesson we learn in this moment.
“Four or five weeks ago it looks like a lot of countries thought: ‘That’s our problem, that’s our problem, that’s our problem, we have a problem with them’ and stuff like this. Now nature shows us we are all the same and we have all the same problems in the same moment, and we have to work together on the solution. There is nothing good in that situation apart from maybe what we can learn from that.”
Liverpool hosted the last high-profile match in England before football was suspended when Atlético Madrid, and approximately 3,000 of their supporters, visited Anfield in the Champions League on 11 March. Klopp recalled: “We played the Bournemouth game on Saturday, we won it, then Sunday City lost, so the information for us was ‘two wins to go’. But then on Monday morning I woke up and heard about the situation in Madrid, that they would close the schools and universities from Wednesday, so it was really strange to prepare for that game to be honest.
“I usually don’t struggle with things around me, I can build barriers right and left when I prepare for a game, but in that moment it was really difficult. Wednesday we had the game, I loved the game, I loved what I saw from the boys, it was a really, really good performance other than the result – we didn’t score enough, we conceded too many, that’s all clear, but between these two main pieces of information it was a brilliant game!
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“Thursday [we were] off and then Friday when we arrived it was already clear this is not a session. Yes, we trained, but it was more of a meeting. We had a lot of things to talk about, a lot of things to think about, things I never thought before in my life about.
“Nobody knew exactly – and nobody knows exactly – how it will go on, so the only way we could do it was to organise it as good as possible for the boys and make sure everything is sorted as much as we can sort it in our little space, in the little area where we are responsible, really. That’s what we did in a very short time, then we sent the boys home, went home ourselves and here we are still.”