A Dutch columnist has ripped into Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in the wake of the Reds’ midweek Champions League exit.
The Merseyside club bowed out of the tournament in tame fashion, losing 6-2 on aggregate against Real Madrid in the round of 16, and are facing a battle just to salvage fourth place in the Premier League.
It’s quite a slump from this time last year when there were genuine hopes of an unprecedented quadruple, the first part of which had been secured by winning the Carabao Cup.
Klopp and several of his players have now come in for stinging criticism from one journalist in an unforgiving rant.
Henk Spaan wrote in his column for Het Parool: “Is Liverpool a top club? Can you call a team a top club with someone like Milner at the centre of midfield?
“Do Liverpool have top footballers? Mo Salah, alright. Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk? Once they were top players. Liverpool can only be called a top club if you look at the budget.
“The level difference with Real Madrid was almost improbable. Benzema, Vinicius, Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Nacho and Camavinga would all be in the starting line-up at Liverpool.
“Klopp was a toddler compared to the mature Ancelotti, a coach doing his job with raised eyebrows watching the madness around him.”
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Let’s first deal with the snippets that Spaan got right – the likes of Trent and Virgil haven’t quite been at the standards they’ve previously set, and we’d take the bulk of the Real Madrid players he mentioned in a heartbeat.
As for the rest of what he said…we must firmly disagree. Liverpool’s season might be falling well short of expectations, but when you look at what we’ve won historically and under Klopp in recent years, our status as a ‘top club’ in European football shouldn’t be disputed.
His observation about James Milner is also an insult to a player who’s won numerous major trophies in his career, including three Premier League titles, and has been widely lauded for his exceptional professionalism in how he conducts himself on and off the pitch (The Athletic).
The ‘toddler’ comment about the Reds manager is out of order, too. Is Jurgen not allowed to show passion on the touchline? If he were sitting idly by as his team’s Champions League campaign fizzled out, would Spaan be berating him for that too?
The season has undoubtedly been a difficult one for Liverpool but some of the criticism has been wildly over the top, with this being a prime example.
#Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!