Gary Lineker blasts ‘tone deaf’ Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool boss criticises ESL protests

Liverpool: Klopp doesn't want owner apology for ESL

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Gary Lineker labelled Jurgen Klopp “spectacularly tone deaf” after the Liverpool manager urged football supporters to “calm down” over the controversial European Super League saga. The sport, particularly in England, is still reeling from the attempt of 12 Premier League, La Liga and Serie A clubs to form a breakaway league this week.

Liverpool were one of six English clubs involved in the doomed project, which fell apart inside 48 hours, although Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have yet to pull out.

Klopp and the Liverpool players had made it clear that they were not involved in the decision to form a Super League and did not support it.

And club owner John W Henry released a statement on Wednesday taking responsibility and declared: “I’m sorry, and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days. It’s something I won’t forget.”

But speaking on Saturday, Liverpool’s German manager criticised the furore over the Super League following a 3,000-strong Arsenal fan protest against owner Stan Kroenke prior to their defeat to Everton at the Emirates on Friday night.

Chelsea supporters also gathered in their numbers on Tuesday to protest the London club’s involvement in the ESL, before the Blues pulled out, prompting huge celebrations among those outside Stamford Bridge.

But Klopp told BT Sport before Liverpool’s clash with Newcastle that supporters should “calm down” as he again made it clear he did not agree with the failed project.

He said: “Look, it hurt a lot. The thing was that yes our owners made a mistake. We’ve said it often enough, they know it and these kind of things.

“What I didn’t like in that moment was it – the Leeds supporters were a good example, they went on us. We had nothing to do with that, we are just the face of the club. Our supporters had nothing to do with that.

“We didn’t even have the idea, we had nothing to do about it and that’s what for me is really important that we don’t forget that. It’s constantly mentioned, Liverpool Football Club, Liverpool Football Club – no, it was not Liverpool Football Club.

“It was representatives of Liverpool Football Club, we have to make a difference. That’s really very important. I see the pictures the last few days of the Arsenal and Chelsea stuff like this… I really think, you all have to calm down.”

But Lineker was not happy about Klopp’s comments and took to Twitter to say: “A handful of owners try to tear our game apart and may well try to do so again, and we’re just told to ‘calm down and move on’.

“Huge admirer of Klopp but he’s spectacularly tone deaf here. Without the fans of our beautiful game it would be much uglier today.”

Liverpool fans gathered on Anfield Road prior to the match against Newcastle with several banners hung up to protest against their American owners Fenway Sports Group and Henry.

Banners read: ‘Spirit of Shanks, not seedy yanks’, ‘£nough is £nough. FSG out’, ‘Henry you have blood on your hands’, ‘Our club, our game, thanks but no yank$’ and ‘FSG rats’.


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