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Klopp stands by Anfield comments after Liverpool fan group backing

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted Friday he had no qualms about criticising the atmosphere at Anfield during a midweek rout of West Ham.

Klopp was unimpressed with the home crowd during a 5-1 League Cup quarter-final thrashing of the Hammers and told fans to give their tickets away if they were not prepared to get behind the side against Premier League title rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

“I am pretty sure not everyone is thinking, ‘Oh my God, Klopp is right’,” the Reds boss told a pre-match news conference on Friday.

“It’s not about that; it is my feeling directly after a game. It was exactly like that.

“I turned around because people were talking after we had missed a chance. I turned around, and people were like, flat. What do you want? Creating a chance is the closest you can get to scoring a goal.”

The German added: “We are in a pretty good position in the league, maybe quicker than what people expected. The difference for me is that if you have a chance and you miss it, it is like ‘ohhh’ (shrugs). But after that, the stadium goes bonkers because immediately we go for the next chance. That is the difference.”

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But Klopp, a hugely popular figure with Liverpool fans since arriving on Merseyside in 2015, insisted his time at Anfield had been overwhelmingly positive.

“It is no criticism,” he said. “I have enjoyed 99.7 per cent of each second in that stadium. I love it to bits. The atmosphere and these people. I am happy with everything, but if people can do better, then show us. That is all. I have nothing more to say about the atmosphere.

“What I said is that we need Anfield tomorrow (against Arsenal). That is 100 per cent true, and I can’t wait for when the first whistle goes.”

Earlier, Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly said it had “no argument” with Klopp’s initial comments about the atmosphere at home games but warned younger fans were being priced out of games at Anfield.

“It’s something our fans discuss regularly; it is central to the club’s and Anfield’s identity, and something the most passionate among us are keen to protect,” said a statement from the group.

“It is no accident that opposing teams, coaches, and fans speak about the ‘Anfield effect’. We all know how intimidating the crowd can make it for visiting sides and how the atmosphere can be second to none.”

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The group said it feared the club’s culture was at risk.

“We do have concerns, though, about the lack of opportunities for young supporters to go to the game, catch the bug, and preserve this decades-long culture of the Kop and deep-rooted worries that our culture is being watered down by greater corporate offerings and out-of-reach ticket prices, as echoed by supporters across the Premier League.

“We are in constant dialogue with the club to explore ways we can improve the situation,” the group added.

AFP



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