Football

Klopp: I'm more steel than 'soft'

Klopp responds to Big Sam's jibe

WEST HAM v LIVERPOOL

(Tonight, 8.45pm, Singtel TV Ch 102 & 
StarHub TV Ch 227)

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp laughed off Sam Allardyce's "soft German" jibe, joking he had been called much worse.

Sunderland boss Allardyce made the comment after Klopp reacted angrily to a challenge from Jeremain Lens on Mamadou Sakho in Thursday morning (Singapore time's) 1-0 Liverpool victory at the Stadium of Light.

Klopp stood by his claim that Lens should have been sent off rather than been shown a yellow card for the tackle.

The Reds boss was in a jovial mood ahead of tonight's clash with West Ham, and said with a chuckle: "Maybe hammer is more my second name than soft."

Responding to Allardyce, he said: "It's absolutely not a problem. A lot of people have said worse things about me. Soft German, I think it's the first time somebody said this about me, so (that's) cool.

"If you see the situation again, then you know that I was not too wrong in judging this moment.

"Mama is still alive and everything is okay but, in my opinion, situations like this had to be judged differently than other things.

"If you compare yellow cards in a game and think, 'this is yellow', then what's this? That's all I want to say. But I had no arguments with the bench of Sunderland."

Klopp's first two-and-a-half months as Liverpool manager have not been straightforward, but there are signs he is getting the team moving in the right direction ahead of tonight's trip to West Ham United.

A run of four matches in all competitions without a victory before Christmas was a cause for concern, but Klopp's side have responded with successive 1-0 victories over Leicester City and Sunderland to improve their league position.

The Reds begin 2016 lying in seventh place, five points outside the Champions League qualification positions, as they prepare to visit a West Ham side who won 3-0 at Anfield in late August.

The German coach was pleased with the victory at Sunderland, believing it was an indication of his team's growing strength of character, although he still feels that there is room for improvement.

"You can make your life easier in games by taking early opportunities. It's important that we don't wait for the perfect game; that instead, we work for the perfect game," he said.

Had things worked out differently, Klopp could have been in the home dugout for the clash at Upton Park.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan revealed this week that he approached Klopp in the summer about becoming Hammers boss but the German wanted a break after leaving Borussia Dortmund.

"In the summer, I was not available," said the German.

"I was sure I needed a few days for myself without thinking too much about football. That's what I did.

"I'm a lucky guy so there was a lot of interest from different clubs.

"If West Ham will talk about this, then they can do it. It's a really good club, but it was the wrong time for all the clubs, so nothing to do with West Ham or what I think about West Ham." - Wire Services.

juergen kloppSAM ALLARDYCEGermanyliverpoolWest Ham UnitedeplFootball