Klopp hits back as SL plans rock soccer

·2-min read

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has turned on former Manchester United defender Gary Neville as tensions over the proposed Super League ran high.

Klopp, who says he and his squad only found out about the club's involvement in plans for the breakaway competition the day it was announced, has spoken out in the past against such a concept and told Sky Sports that his opinion had not changed since 2019.

"I heard first hand about it yesterday," he said before Monday's Premier League 1-1 draw at Leeds United.

"It's a tough one. People are not happy with that, I can understand that.

"But I cannot say a lot more about it because we were not involved in any processes, not the players, not me.

"We didn't know about it."

Liverpool, along with their great rivals United, are among 12 of Europe's top football clubs that announced on Sunday they were launching a closed Super League in the face of widespread opposition from within the game and beyond.

While opposed to the proposal, Klopp defended his club owners - US-based Fenway Sports Group - as '"great people" and hit back at criticism from Gary Neville as tempers flared over the breakaway league.

Neville, now a pundit for Sky Sports television, had referred to Liverpool's 'You'll Never Walk Alone' crowd anthem to highlight the irony of the club's stance.

He also termed the breakaway "an absolute disgrace", proposed by owners motivated by greed.

Klopp said Neville should not be allowed to speak of the anthem.

"This already should be forbidden. It's our anthem. We have the right to sing our anthem. He doesn't understand it anyway so I don't want this because it's not fair..." the German said.

"Don't forget that we have nothing to do with this. We are in the same situation like you all...

"'Damn them to hell?' Did he write that today? These things are really not OK."

Neville, listening in the Sky studio, said he had not meant any disrespect and argued that he and Klopp were actually in agreement.

"Yesterday was an impassioned plea from me about protecting football in this country," Neville said.

"My biggest disappointment was with Manchester United and Liverpool.

"I think I've equally distributed enough criticism to both clubs in the last 24 hours so I don't know what the problem is."

Leeds United players warmed up for the match in shirts bearing the Champions League logo and the words 'Earn It' on the front and 'Football is for the fans' on the back.

Fans also booed the Liverpool team as they arrived at Elland Road.

"I don't like the way people are talking about the football club," Klopp said.

"I take the criticism for everything... but this, we have nothing to do with this.

"When we came here, people were shouting at us. We have to be a little bit careful..."