Jurgen Klopp has admitted he has little appetite to watch the World Cup after being left cold by the tournaments timing and the issues around it.
Liverpool’s manager intends to take a holiday while the group stages are being contested in Qatar and will then spend the rest of the time at a warm weather training camp in Dubai with those players at his club who are not involved.
Klopp was reluctant to speak about the World Cup initially on Friday but he could not hold his tongue and, initially, he made it clear that players and managers of the 32 nations should not have to face a barrage of questions on politics when they are there for football.
There was no mistaking his ambivalence for the tournament in general and his feelings around it have been intensified after he rewatched a programme about the circumstances of Qatar being awarded the right to stage the World Cup in 2010.
“I will watch the games but it is different,” said Klopp. “I watched an old documentary about the whole situation, about when it got announced that Russia and Qatar are the places for the next World Cups. I think it was the first time in history they announced two in one go.
“We all know how it happened and that we can still let it happen, with no legal thing afterwards, led to a real…what can I say? Now it is open, now everybody knows, but still it was hidden and you think: “How can that all happen?” It was 12 years ago. It’s nothing to do with Qatar.
“They won the World Cup and now it is there. But in the moment you put it there, all the things that followed it up were clear. And the people who were involved at that time should have known.
Klopp added, “Later on we talk about human rights in terms of the people who have to work there in circumstances that are, let me say it nicely, difficult. We couldn’t play the World Cup there in the summer because of the temperature and there was not one stadium in Qatar, or maybe one. So, you have to build stadiums.
“I don’t think anybody thought about that on that day, that somebody has to build them. It’s not like Aladdin with his “wonder lamp” and “Boom! There’s a new stadium!”
“The situation makes you angry. How can it not?” The issue of player welfare is also something that has enraged Klopp, with a growing number of big names dropping out in the build-up.
Klopp said: “I hate this subject. These problems were so clear – so clear! – and nobody mentioned it until three weeks before the World Cup. Nobody cares about us (football managers and players) and how we feel. The players who get injured and cannot play, it is a disaster. But how can we change that now?”
He added, “Don’t put Gareth Southgate constantly in a situation where he has to talk about everything. He has an opinion but he’s not a politician, I’m not a politician. He’s a manager of England so let him do that.
“If you want to write about something else then do it, but by yourself without asking us so that its “Klopp said” or “Southgate said”. As if that would change anything.”
- A Daily Mail report