LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp hopes tensions over the Super League diminish so teams and fans can “go back to the beautiful game” now that the breakaway project has been squelched.
Klopp said on Friday he’s ready to move on even though many fans are still steaming over the bid by England’s so-called “Big Six” to ditch the Champions League in favor of a new, largely closed competition of Europe’s richest clubs.
All six clubs abandoned the project within 48 hours of the unveiling after the overwhelmingly negative response from fans, coaches, and players.
“I know our owners, they are are not perfect, like I am not perfect, like you are not perfect, but they are not bad people,” Klopp said ahead of a home match against Newcastle on Saturday in the Premier League.
“They made a not-so-good decision, let me say a bad decision, that’s true, but let’s carry on.”
Among the club apologies, Liverpool owner John Henry made a video begging forgiveness, but Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer’s written mea culpa didn’t immediately placate fans.
A small group of United fans gained access to its training ground on Thursday, carrying banners with messages including “Glazers out” and “We decide when you play.” Eventually, they got to speak to United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and members of his backroom staff.
On Friday, several hundred Arsenal fans protested outside Emirates Stadium, calling on owner Stan Kroenke to quit the club over its bid to join the Super League.
Lingering negativity would be “really bad,” Klopp said.
“They all learned their lesson, I’m pretty sure,” he said of the owners. “Now we have to trust to make sure that we don’t get any harm (from) it, like a different atmosphere in the club — for other clubs the same, obviously.
“They tried something. It was not allowed, so c’mon, let’s go back to the beautiful game it always was.”
Klopp said he’s not naive and launched into his frustration with the revamped Champions League, echoing Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s concerns about playing too many games.
“You cannot just always introduce new competitions. Yes, the Super League is off the table — good, very good. But the new Champions League … they showed it to me. I said, ‘I don’t like it because there are 10 games instead of six. I have no idea where we shall put them in.”
Klopp said he was given little time to weigh in on the new format.
“The only people who never get asked are the coaches, the players, and the supporters,” he said. “We are already on the edge.
“UEFA didn’t ask us, the Super League inventors didn’t ask us. Nobody asked us. Always, it’s just play more games. We don’t get asked. We just have to deliver.”
Henry mentioned Klopp in his apology video, which the manager said was “personal enough for me” in the fallout of the Super League fiasco.
“It’s great that it didn’t happen. Now, I have a job to do.”
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