Of all the managers in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp is the one I respect the most.
I’ve waxed lyrical about him many times in this column, not just because he’s a very good manager but because he applies some very solid, sane, sensible life rules to his football, too.
When I hear him speak I hear someone who’s saying, ‘I’m a football manager, not a brain surgeon or a scientist splitting the atom’.
I’ve a lot of time for that approach and, on top of that, a lot of time for the way he conducts himself with videos and letters to supporters young and old as well. He comes across as a very good, all-round guy who has both feet planted on the ground.
But, in recent weeks, around the health and welfare and player injury stuff, I must admit I’ve found myself thinking, ‘Jurgen, reel it back’.
Because what concerns me is that with every moan and groan he looks like someone who’s getting his excuses in early.
As an ex-Liverpool player, I want him to win back-to-back titles and I would love for him to leave these shores, whenever it is, as a fine example of a foreign manager who came in, adapted to the unique circumstances English football throws up, and left saying, ‘Been there, done that’.
The fact of the matter is that Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, who have never been relegated from the Premier League, have had lots of money coming in year in, year out, and have all made more than enough to flesh out their squads with 25 internationals and to have the best academies in the country.
So managers of those clubs shouldn’t gripe at injury problems, because they end up looking like they’re moaning about their diamond shoes being too tight. Some of the greatest bosses in football history won the biggest trophies with just 14 players at their disposal and when injuries hit they plucked youngsters from nowhere and turned them into household names.
Klopp has a willingness to give boys a chance with Curtis Jones coming in and doing well, scoring a cracking goal in midweek, and Neco Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher impressing.
That’s why he’d be better letting Pep Guardiola do the moaning on his own.
It’s laughable when the Manchester City boss pipes up about player welfare, given he has arguably the best squad ever assembled in football in terms of quality and depth.
And I don’t want Klopp getting involved in that because he has already shown he can do what Guardiola seemingly can’t in playing those youngsters in big games and getting results.
So in the kindest possible way – because there’s no argument with Klopp, and I don’t want to upset him given that 99.99 per cent of the things he says and the way he says them, I love – for the management of Liverpool Football Club and for him as a man and manager, I say, ‘Please, Jurgen, don’t get into these debates because they aren’t worth it’.
If he really wants to have the conversation he could easily request a hearing with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the FA high-ups rather than picking fights with such as Des Kelly on TV.
The fact he has chosen to do it that way has made it look like he has been spoiling for a ruck and you just know that Jose Mourinho, Frank Lampard and Guardiola will be saying to their dressing-rooms, ‘Lads, he’s biting, we’ve got him’.
So just for a few weeks Klopp needs to put up his No.2 for the media, the physio if he must, and just crack on with doing what he does best, which is being a great manager.