Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defends Chelsea over Gary Neville ‘bottlejob’ jibe

Joe Williams
Jurgen Klopp defends Chelsea
Jurgen Klopp smiles after winning the Carabao Cup final.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists he doesn’t “understand” why Gary Neville called Chelsea “bottlejobs” during their Carabao Cup final defeat to the Reds.

Defeat in the final sparked further criticism of Mauricio Pochettino and his expensively-assembled Chelsea squad – including scathing remarks from Neville – as they failed to overcome their inexperienced rivals who were missing a host of star names.

Neville described Chelsea as “blue billion pound bottlejobs” after Virgil van Dijk’s injury-time header gave Liverpool a 1-0 win, before adding on Sky Sports: “Those Chelsea players will regret that extra time for a long, long time.

“I thought they played quite well and punched hard in the first 90 minutes, but in the real crux of the game, in extra time, where they had Liverpool by the scruff of the neck with those young kids, not having the answer in the last 10 minutes of normal time…

“They didn’t turn up, they didn’t perform, and you can’t do that. You cannot do it. What was it with them? Credit to Liverpool, but I’m really disappointed with Chelsea in that extra time.

“You can lose any final, you can lose any game of football, (but) you cannot play like that. You cannot shrink, go back, particularly when Liverpool have five kids out on the pitch. You have to go for the throat.”

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And now the Liverpool boss has defended Chelsea over Neville’s comments, Klopp told reporters: “I understand that people have to talk about it, but I was in the other seat as well, losing a final.

“And people say a lot of things about you that you don’t like to hear. In my case, some of them were true, some were not true, just guessing what might have happened.

“I’m the one who knows what it’s like to lose five or six finals in a row. I can imagine how it was for Chelsea, everybody tells you, ‘By the way, you lost the last five and that’s a new record’ – it’s not nice I really felt for them.

“They didn’t deserve to get all the blame [because] they played a really good football game, in a final where nobody plays their absolute best football.

“You just have to beat the opponent, and that’s what we did. That’s why this ‘bottling’ thing is really not mine. I really don’t understand it.

“They wanted it badly and didn’t get it, and I saw in the faces of the players and Poch after the game that it felt horrible.

“I don’t think anybody deserves these kind of feelings but in finals it is like that, that one feels like that and the other one is happier. Tricky, but it is the world we are living in.”

And Arsenal legend David Seaman also thought Neville’s words were “too harsh” after people used “bottlejob” to describe the Gunners last season.

“I hate that word [bottlejobs],” Seaman said on his podcast Seaman Says.

“Obviously, it was thrown at Arsenal last season and it’s too harsh a word for what’s happening at Chelsea currently. When Gary Neville said it I thought, ‘oh no, that’s going to stick’, and I woke up the next day, turned on the radio and it was all everyone was talking about.

“I thought it was a 50/50 game. Both sides hit the post, they both had chances and both goalkeepers made big saves. As a 0-0 I was really enjoying it and actually watched it all. I don’t know if we’d be here calling Chelsea bottlejobs if they’d lost on penalties, so it’s fine margins that we’re talking about.”