Former Ref on Klopp: ‘Never took losing well’

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The relationship between referees and managers often adds a layer of intrigue, sometimes even sparking controversies. Mark Clattenburg, a name synonymous with Premier League officiating, offers an intriguing perspective, via the Daily Mail, on Liverpool FC’s charismatic manager, Jurgen Klopp, in his book “The Whistle Blower”.

Clattenburg’s Candid Revelations about Klopp

A veteran of the whistle, Clattenburg, who refereed in the Premier League from 2004 to 2017 before moving to Saudi Arabia, shares candid insights into his experiences with Klopp. Known for his vibrant personality and touchline antics, Klopp is adored by fans worldwide. However, Clattenburg presents a different facet of the German manager, one that is less visible to the public eye.

Encounters on and off the Pitch

In one particular instance, Clattenburg recalls an encounter with Klopp and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. This meeting, unusual in its nature, involved Klopp entering the referee’s dressing room before a game against Chelsea at Anfield in January 2017. The interaction, described by Clattenburg as a long, silent stare from Klopp, left him perplexed. “I just stared back at him,” Clattenburg noted, adding, “What a strange bloke.”

Photo: IMAGO

Klopp’s Intensity and Reactions to Defeat

Further shedding light on Klopp’s demeanor, Clattenburg remarked:

“Klopp never took losing well. When he was winning he was happy, he was good fun. When things were not going his way, he got prickly.”

This insight offers a glimpse into the high-pressure environment of top-flight football, where emotions run high, and the stakes are always towering.

A Champions League Flashpoint

Clattenburg also recounts an incident following a Champions League clash between Borussia Dortmund, then managed by Klopp, and Real Madrid in the 2013-14 season. After the match, which Real Madrid won 3-0, Clattenburg was approached by Real defender Marcelo and his wife for a private picture. “It was a private picture on their phone so I said yeah, no problem,” Clattenburg explained.

In conclusion, the revelations in “The Whistle Blower” offer a rare window into the complexities and nuances of the relationships between referees and managers. Clattenburg’s experiences with Jurgen Klopp, in particular, reveal a side of the Liverpool manager that contrasts with his public persona. It underscores the multifaceted nature of football personalities and the intricate dynamics that play out in the beautiful game.

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