Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp jumps to Gareth Southgates defence

Jordan Pickford defends 'brilliant' Gareth Southgate ahead of World Cup

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says England manager Gareth Southgate should not have to answer questions about Qatar’s human rights record during this winter’s World Cup. Qatar has also come under fire for its stance on same-sex relationships and its treatment of migrant workers ahead of the tournament, with some players and countries already planning peaceful protests. But Klopp doesn’t think Southgate should be quizzed about such issues.

“Don’t put Gareth Southgate constantly in a situation where he has to talk about everything,” said the German. “He has an opinion but he’s not a politician – I’m not a politician. He’s a manager of England – so let him do that.

“If you want to write about something else then do it – but by yourself without asking us so that it’s ‘Klopp said’ or ‘Southgate said.’ As if that would change anything. You more than I let it happen 12 years ago.

“I will watch it from a football point of view but I don’t like the fact that players now have to send a message. Now we are telling players they have to wear an armband and if they don’t do it then they are not on their side.

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“No, no, no – these are footballers. It is a tournament and the players must go there and play and do the best for their countries. They are wonderful people there and it is not at all that everything is bad over there. But how it happened was not right in the first place. But now it is there, let them play the game as players and managers.”

Qatar won the bidding process in 2010 to host the World Cup ahead of the USA, South Korea, Japan and Australia. But Klopp is angry that the country has been allowed to stage it. “We all know how it happened and that we can still let it happen, with no legal thing afterwards, led to a real – what can I say,” the 55-year-old added. “Now it is open, now everybody knows, but still it was hidden and you think, ‘how can that all happen?’”

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England are among the favourites to win the World Cup after reaching the semi-finals of the competition in Russia four years ago. But they enter the tournament on a dismal run of form.

The Three Lions failed to win any of their previous six matches and haven’t tasted victory since overcoming Ivory Coast 3-0 at Wembley in March.

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