Klopp says breaches of financial fair play must be punished

Manager admits Liverpool’s season feels less successful than the points would suggest

Jürgen Klopp has said Uefa must take action against any club found to have flouted its rules on financial fair play.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were accused of overvaluing sponsorship deals to meet FFP rules in articles published by German magazine Der Spiegel this week. The allegations were based on documents released by Football Leaks and claimed Uefa was not aware of the extent of the alleged deception when, in City's case, imposing a £49 million (€56 million) fine – £32 million of which was suspended – in 2014. City and PSG have denied wrongdoing.

Klopp is the first high-profile Premier League manager other than Pep Guardiola to discuss FFP since the allegations. The Liverpool manager said yesterday he had yet to read Der Spiegel's accusations but believes European football's governing body must sanction any club in breach of the regulations for FFP to remain fit for purpose.

“It is really difficult to comment but what I can say in general is that FFP is a really good thing,” Klopp said. “But we always thought that, if it is in place, they have to do something with it. I have no clue what happens. I know it is about Paris and Man City. I’m not sure if other clubs are being talked about. I think FFP is a really good thing because it sets the rules. If everything is fine, then everything is fine. If not, then somebody should do something. That’s all I can say but I have no clue about the real story.”


Level playing field

Liverpool are in close competition with City and PSG in the Premier League and Champions League respectively. Klopp, however, rejected the idea that Liverpool's rivals are not competing on a level playing field. "For me that is not important. We have better circumstances than other clubs. We have much better circumstances than Huddersfield, for example, but they don't blame us and say we have to find a rule so we have the same situation. It's not like that."

Klopp has said Liverpool’s season should not be judged solely on winning the Premier League and feels his team deserve more credit than has been bestowed so far.

Liverpool, who have denied a report in the US that the club is quietly on the market for sale, can equal their highest points tally after 12 games of a Premier League season with victory over Fulham on Sunday. Another clean sheet would deliver the lowest tally of goals conceded – five – at the same stage.

Klopp accepts expectations are higher this season, having reached the Champions League final in May and outspent every other Premier League club in the summer transfer window. However, he believes a return of 27 points from a possible 33 has not generated the positivity it merits because of the absence of last season’s flowing football and the form of title rivals.

Melwood inquest

The Liverpool manager, who led the inquest into Tuesday's Champions League defeat at Red Star Belgrade on the return to Melwood the following day, said: "It was more a general meeting about our situation and what we expect from ourselves. The season so far, point-wise, is really successful but it doesn't feel like that for two reasons: the comparison with last year and the free-flowing football, and Man City, Chelsea and the others who are playing a very good season as well.

“You see it this week. We struggle in Belgrade and they [City] win 6-0. It’s a big gap. It feels a bit like that this season can only be a success if we become champion, in a year when our competitors are the champion of last year and the champion of two years ago. And a refreshed Arsenal and a more experienced Tottenham, and Man United turning around. That’s a really tough job. We go for everything. No problem with that, but we have to build on our situation to get better, more confidence. Tuesday was our massive knock, and now we have to react in the right way, not only on Sunday but in general.”

A little moan

Klopp insists Liverpool have shown undoubted improvement this season, with the exception of the performances at Red Star and Napoli, without rediscovering the attacking flair of the last campaign.

“Everybody is searching for it,” he added. “All the different expectations are on the boys. We were in the Champions League final last year, and for the first 25 minutes we were the better team in the final. Doesn’t help a lot but that’s the last impression people have.

“We have to start again, and the other teams don’t get worse. A little moan about the situation is great but we are really ambitious. Whatever we can get, we want to take with all we have, but it’s a different situation – Champions League final, new signings settling in, it sounds like you automatically win the Champions League or the league. But the other teams don’t sleep.

“We have to see it in the right way, be positive and not the other way round. It’s like we win a game and we have to say sorry for not winning it in a City way or whatever. I get that, we have space for improvement, but there is no reason for any negative view.”

Liverpool spokesman responded to a New York Post story that the owner, John Henry, has signalled a willingness to sell the club by saying: "On behalf of the club's ownership I can completely dismiss this unfounded speculation. To repeat once again, the club is not for sale, including any 'quiet process' or anything of that nature." – Guardian