Jürgen Klopp rebukes Gary Neville for European exit remark
Twice-European Cup winner suggested exit could help Liverpool title bid
Jürgen Klopp has delivered a withering rebuke to Gary Neville after the former Manchester United defender suggested Liverpool would benefit from crashing out of the Champions League.
The Liverpool manager underlined the importance of tonight’s last-16 tie against Bayern Munich as he rejected claims by pundits such Neville that elimination could help his team win the Premier League.
“That’s the reason why they don’t have a job on the sideline – one of the reasons,” he said.
Klopp was unimpressed by the suggestion before Liverpool’s second leg at the Allianz Arena with the last-16 tie locked at 0-0.
“It is so easy to sit in a studio and talk about things like that,” Klopp said. “You draw a season and say the best way to go through it is to go out of all the cup competitions early.
“You do that and the same people go for you like mad. Now it is closer to the end of the season and it is allowed to go out of the Champions League without even trying? That’s really mad.”
Klopp added that the Champions League is vital to Liverpool because the club depends on its own revenue streams for success and not a wealthy benefactor.
Liverpool made £72 million from reaching last season’s Champions League final. Given their domestic rivalry with Manchester City, who are under investigation by Uefa and the Premier League for alleged financial fair play breaches, which they deny, Klopp said it was imperative Champions League revenue continues to flow into Anfield.
Before the second leg in Munich, he made the distinction between Liverpool developing within their own financial means and clubs relying on individuals to fund success.
“We have to qualify constantly for Champions League,” Klopp said. “That’s what gives us the money to improve to make the next step and then the next step.
“When we qualified by beating Napoli [/in December/] , I’m not sure how much it was worth [£10.67m for winning the game and reaching the knockout stage] but it was a lot of money in one game. I didn’t think for a second before that game: ‘Oh my God, we have to earn this money for the club’, but after we got through it was like: ‘Wow, that is proper money.’
“It is a money-throwing competition and we have to be in it as long as possible because we have to improve the situation for the club. We have to earn most of the money for ourselves. That is exactly what you can do in the Champions League. If it happens, it will be a great night. If it doesn’t happen it is not the end of the world but I don’t think that it will not happen.”