Jurgen Klopp has explained why he so vociferously celebrated a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom in December 2015.
When Liverpool secured a point against West Brom at Anfield mere months into Klopp’s reign, the German’s reaction was widely criticised by rivals.
The manager celebrated Divock Origi’s stoppage-time equaliser wildly on the touchline, before assembling his players so they could salute the Kop. He stated after that match that he had “enjoyed the atmosphere with my whole body”. Good lord.
It was an approach lambasted by supporters of rival clubs – James McClean called him “a bit of an idiot” – but one Klopp says was simply to engender a positive relationship with the fans.
“I really wanted from the first day that the people know about their importance,” Klopp told JOE.
“In football, people always say it – that supporters are important – but then you don’t treat them like that so you have to make sure it’s really a healthy relationship.
“We know without them we wouldn’t play on our highest level, no chance. You have to appreciate that and it’s very easy for me, but it’s still very different routines in England and in Germany.
“There was a big misunderstanding against West Brom. I wanted to say thank you to the supporters after that game so I took my team towards the Kop to do it and there was a discussion everywhere about it. For me, it was ‘why should we even discuss that?’
“But I had to learn that English people are not used to that kind of thing.
“I wanted to show that we really we are one unit, 100 per cent one unit. That means I know I am responsible for the performance, but the people are responsible for the atmosphere.
“So it should be a win-win situation. When we play well, it’s easy to get the crowd going and when we don’t play well, we need you to encourage us – get on your feet, tell us ‘come on’ – you have to be the stars then.
“I want us to have the best atmosphere in world football and there is no limit to what we can do actually.
“I love it how people really are involved in the game, but there’s still space for improvement – from our side performance-wise, but also to keep the atmosphere really on the highest level.
“This is a fantastic moment to be a Liverpudlian, because it’s all so positive in a not-so-positive world.
“So yeah, you are welcome to be involved in any way that you want and I say it again, let’s really have the best time of our lives.”