‘I don’t like it and don’t want it to happen’ - Klopp and Milner speak out

Liverpool’s manager and captain on the night critical of owners’ Super League plans

Jurgen Klopp urges angry fans not to blame him or Liverpool players for the club's involvement in the Super League. Video: Reuters

 

Liverpool midfielder James Milner is against the formation of a European Super League and insists the players have no control over the decision which could change the face of football.

Six Premier League sides — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham — are part of an initial group of 12 clubs seeking to establish a new 20-team continental competition “as soon as practicable”.

AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid have also signed up as founding clubs, with three more expected to follow before the inaugural season.

But the plan has provoked widespread outrage, with high-profile figures from football and politics uniting to condemn the proposals.

Milner is the first player who would be in line to play in the competition to speak out against it after he was asked for his opinion following Liverpool’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Leeds.

“There is a lot of questions,” he told Sky Sports. “I can only say my personal opinion, I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen. I can only imagine what has been said about it and I probably agree with most of it.

“I think for us we just try and concentrate on the game, there is obviously a lot going on, but for us we just have to try and be professional and concentrate on the game that is the only thing we can control.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had earlier said his own negative opinion of a European Super League had not changed.

Klopp, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of his side’s game at Elland Road, stuck by his words from 2019 when he said he “hoped this Super League will never happen”.

“It didn’t change. My opinion didn’t change,” the German said.

“It is 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. The facts are out there and we will have to see how it develops.

“I have no issues with the Champions League, I like the competitive factor of football.

“I like the fact that West Ham might play in the Champions League next year. I don’t want them to because we want to do that, but I like that they have the chance.”

Ex-England captain and now owner of Major League Soccer franchise David Beckham warned that fans will be the ones to suffer if plans go ahead.

“I’m someone who loves football. It has been my life for as long as I can remember. I loved it from when I was a young child as a fan, and I’m still a fan now. As a player and now as an owner I know that our sport is nothing without the fans. We need football to be for everyone. We need football to be fair and we need competitions based on merit. Unless we protect these values the game we love is in danger.” he wrote on Instagram.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher called on everyone involved in the sport to unite and battle against the proposals.

“My message to everyone is that these clubs think this is a done deal, I don’t think it is,” he told Monday Night Football.

“Supporters up and down this country can stop it and I really do believe it. At the forefront of that will be Liverpool, because I have seen it before.

“We have tribalism in this country, we have rivalry and that is what makes the game the way it is and that is what we love.

“Football fans get together — all of us in TV, pundits, players, managers get together and stop this.

“It can be stopped and I am convinced of it. Going forward that is what we need — marches on stadiums, supporters getting together. It should not be allowed to happen.”

Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who spoke passionately against the proposals before confirmation came late on Sunday, hit out at the club’s owners, the Glazer family and later became ensconced in a bitter war of words with Klopp.

“When I woke up and saw the statement and it had Joel Glazer’s name on it, I thought this was a big problem,” he said.

“He doesn’t put his name on anything, that man. He is intelligent, he knows what he wants and he has parked his weasels and he has come out and it made me think, ‘This is serious’.

“He is not backing down, he will try and push this through and, once he puts his name on it, he is going to try and force this through.

“They (the Glazers) have been through hell in the early years at Manchester United, they withstood it, stood it out and they don’t care, so when I saw his name on it I really worried.”

Speaking after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Leeds striker Patrick Bamford told Sky Sports: “I think that for me personally, what I have seen, I haven’t seen one football fan who is happy about the decision.

“I think football is ultimately for the fans, so without the fans every single club would be pretty much nothing, so it is important we stand our ground and show football is for the fans and try and keep it that way.

“We’ve just seen what everyone else has seen on Twitter and stuff.

“It it amazing the things they are talking about I can’t quite comprehend, it is amazing the amount of uproar that comes into the game when some of these pockets are being hurt, so it is a shame it is not like that with all the things that go wrong at the minute, racism and stuff like that, but it is just how it is.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.