Jurgen Klopp was ready to “go all the way” and nearly had a dressing room brawl with James Milner when the manager was left furious after a 2-2 draw with Sunderland
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool vice-captain James Milner almost got into a dressing room brawl according to former Red Ragnar Klavan.
The talented German manager is heralded for his ability to connect to players personally but is also renowned for having a temper.
Speaking on the Betsafe Eesti podcast, Klavan recalled how the Liverpool boss almost came to blows with Milner.
It came at a time in January 2017, when Liverpool were second in the table and had just dropped points in a 2-2 draw away at Sunderland to fall further behind eventual Premier League champions Chelsea.
Klavan claimed that under growing pressure, Klopp was prepared to fight with Milner there and then in the dressing room to prove his point.
He said, when asked about Klopp’s hairdryer treatment: “The biggest pressure was around Christmas and at the beginning of January. One time, I don’t remember who we played against. Maybe it was against Sunderland away.
“Klopp and James Milner almost started a physical fight. It was the period when there was Boxing Day in England and they almost started fighting but eventually Milner stepped back.
“We saw from his eyes that Klopp would have gone all the way just to prove his point. It was the most stressful time for him as well. He was under a lot of pressure.
“It was my first and Klopp’s second year. What are you going to do? You’re supposed to be a good coach. You are Jurgen Klopp who will make superstars of all players. The pressure started getting to him.
“It’s not supposed to be easy, but if you don’t deliver against a team like Sunderland, then you can forget about the places you had hoped for.”
However, alongside his temper, Klopp’s known for his inspiring team talks that have turned games around before.
Klavan said they were different to any other manager he has ever worked under.
He said. “What I didn’t have with other coaches in team meetings is he never repeated himself. He always talked from a different angle or there was a slight joke in it.
“He sensed the player and the team so well. He knew when to say what. If he saw there were problems in the team, he could turn it around with a simple joke or vice versa, when the team didn’t take it too seriously, then he showed them who’s boss.
“That, for me, is his phenomenon. That he can read the team so well, and individually as well.”
Liverpool currently find themselves joint top of the Premier League, unbeaten so far as they progressed to the next round of the Carabao Cup with an easy 3-0 win over Norwich.
The Reds look reminiscent of their title-winning selves, having shaken off the struggles of last year and returned with a revitalised and strengthened squad.
As well as starting the Champions League off with a thrilling 3-2 win over AC Milan, they have positioned themselves as one of the teams to beat in Klopp’s sixth year at Liverpool.