Jürgen Klopp's matchday programme notes

In fullJürgen Klopp's matchday programme notes

Published 16th December 2021


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Read Jürgen Klopp's notes for Liverpool's official matchday programme for tonight's meeting with Newcastle United.

Good evening and welcome back to Anfield for our Premier League fixture against Newcastle United. I welcome Eddie Howe, his players, staff, officials and the supporters of our visitors.

It really is great to see Eddie back in management and back in the Premier League. I’ve never hidden my admiration for him and his work.

He is a brave, adventurous coach with a clear plan and a clear idea, always. What he did at Bournemouth you could make a movie about, it was such a remarkable story.

I am guessing this, but I think the break will have helped him and made him even better. A time to take a breather, reflect and learn more; refine new ideas.

Judging from how he has presented himself in the media, he is full of energy for this new role and excited about the potential at Newcastle.

I know from previous experiences his side will come to Anfield and look to attack us. Get at us. Play their game. We need to be ready. They have an excellent squad of players who have a lot to fight for. They will be a dangerous opponent for sure.

There is one person in their camp whom we at LFC know particularly well. Mark Leyland was a key member of my backroom team for many years as an analyst but has recently left to take a more senior position at Newcastle.

He had worked with Eddie previously at Burnley, I believe, and as disappointed as we all are to lose Mark, it’s not a surprise Eddie and his guys wanted him and it’s a fantastic opportunity.

He is a really smart guy, wonderfully generous with a warm personality. A credit to his superb family, Newcastle are very fortunate to have him.

We gave him a round of applause at the AXA Training Centre on his last day but it’s worked out that I can use this programme column to thank Mark again for all he did for me and the team in the time we spent together. I wish him all the luck in the world for the future but none at all today of course.

At the time of writing this column I have no idea what impact the previous game against Aston Villa will have had on team selection. There is of course a wider national conversation on the increasing spread of COVID, both in the country but at football clubs also.

My message around this has always been simple and clear, I hope: I trust experts. I follow the advice of smart, educated people who know their field because they’ve dedicated their lives to it and have studied it.

We are clearly moving back to stricter measures around the team environment and at LFC we are absolutely OK with that. As I have spoken about before, we have a very high take-up of the vaccine at our club and have done for a long time. It might be 100 per cent now or as close as is possible, so that’s important.

I have no issue telling you I received my booster jab as soon as I was eligible and again that will be the case for many if not nearly all within our ranks in the coming days and weeks.

I won’t apologise for the view I hold on the vaccination, no matter how unpopular it might make me in certain sections of society. I’m the same privately as I am publicly on this.

If I come across friends or people I care about in my life away from football and they tell me they haven’t had a jab yet, I do my best to encourage them to listen to experts. It’s never a case of ‘listen to me’ – it’s always ‘listen to those who know’.

Ignore those who pretend to know. Ignore lies and misinformation. Listen to people who know best. If you do that, you end up wanting the vaccine and the booster.

The ‘stick to football’ abuse so misses the point. Yes, I know about football having spent my entire life in the game. And my view on the vaccination isn’t from my own imagination. That’s the point – I listen to experts. People who are smarter than I ever could be have come to the rescue of society by creating this for the world.

We are very blessed in this country and throughout Europe to have such incredible access to it. I see that as a privilege and one I will always be grateful for.

We don’t know what impact the new variant will have on football in the short or medium term. It will certainly impact player availability as positive cases arise and might result in fixtures being postponed sporadically, but that is for the governing bodies to manage.

Clearly we hope disruption is minimal, but that’s not in our hands and nor should it be. Again, we must trust those who know best, those with the knowledge. We just want as many people as possible to be safe. Health has to be the priority always. Health of participants, staff and supporters.

Turning back to tonight, the impact of the supporters will be crucial. Anfield was outstanding against Aston Villa. Absolutely outstanding. Player of the Match really! It’s even more important tonight that we all go again in the same mood.

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We need to be focused, controlled, patient but ultimately greedy and channelling positive aggression. The right sort of greed and aggression. The intensity of the backing from the stands on Saturday 100 per cent made a difference and the players responded.

I realise meanwhile Liverpool v Newcastle at Anfield is a fixture that brings romanticism because of rivalries past and when it comes around it’s a game that gets the juices flowing on both sides. This is cool.

We can all embrace this feeling tonight. Being back together, knowing that we can achieve something by helping each other and focusing on what helps us collectively.

When this team and Anfield are in the right mood I always love what we create. The same again would be fantastic.

Hopefully we can perform to make the supporters proud.

Published 16th December 2021


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