Klopp challenges Liverpool flops
WATFORD — Jurgen Klopp challenged his Liverpool flops to prove they have the stomach for a fight after capitulating in a woeful 3-0 defeat against Watford.
Klopp’s side fell apart after a blunder from Reds goalkeeper Adam Bogdan was punished by Watford’s Nathan Ake in the third minute at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Showing little resistance against tenacious opponents, Liverpool conceded a sloppy second goal when Odion Ighalo bullied Martin Skrtel into another mistake in the 15th minute.
Liverpool never threatened a response as Watford wrapped up their first home win over the Reds since 1986 when in-form Ighalo headed home in the closing minutes.
It was the heaviest defeat of Klopp’s two-month reign and by far the worst performance.
Coming after praise was heaped on the German and his players following impressive wins at Manchester City and Southampton, Klopp wants to see what kind of response Liverpool, without a win in four matches, can summon now the going is a little tougher.
“After Southampton and Manchester City everyone thought ‘wow’. That was one part of what we can do. Now everyone saw the complete other side,” Klopp said.
“Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I know how strong this team can be.
“We don’t feel good today of course. We came here to do something really different from what you saw.
“We have a few days before the next game and we will work on it.
“The easy game everyone wins. Now we have to win the difficult ones.”
Klopp had no qualms about criticising Bogdan for his mistake, but he felt referee Mark Clattenburg could have blown for a foul before Ake scored because he virtually kicked the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands.
“We made bigger faults than the ref but in my opinion he had both hands on the ball so it is a foul,” Klopp said.
“Mistakes can happen, that is
“I wouldn’t say it’s the lowest moment. I think it became pretty glum, if you like, under David Moyes and it was unfortunate. We weren’t playing well at the time,” Jones told British media.
“There’s no point saying we’ve played some good football this season because ultimately we’ve lost three games in a row — but we have in patches. We need to stick together, there’s nothing else you can do.”
The England international became the latest United player to speak about the atmosphere at the club, after goalkeeper David de Gea dismissed reports of dressing room unrest.
Van Gaal, who is bookmaker William Hill’s favourite in the sack race, has come under heavy criticism for his over-emphasis on possession, but Jones believes the Dutchman is the right man to turn around the club’s fortunes.
“The manager is doing all he can and is doing a terrific job. It’s not even questionable in the dressing room.
“The lads are absolutely fully focused on performing well for the manager, the fans, ourselves weekin, week-out,” Jones said.
“The players in there aren’t hiding behind anyone. We know full well we have to take responsibility. There’s no other way. The manager picks the team and the team has got to go out and do its best.”
United, who are fifth in the table, travel to take on 11th-placed Stoke City on Saturday.
Full fixtures Dec 26: Stoke v Man U, Liverpool v Leicester, Manchester City v Sunderland, Swansea City v West Brom, Chelsea v Watford, Aston Villa v West Ham, Bournemouth v Crystal Palace, Tottenham v Norwich, Newcastle v Everton, Southampton v Arsenal.
Dec 28: Norwich v Aston Villa, Everton v Stoke, Crystal Palace v Swansea, West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle, Watford v Tottenham, West Ham v Southampton, Arsenal v Bournemouth, Manchester United v Chelsea.
rich building with about 10 staff. One story says that it was Blatter who went to the bank to get a loan when they could not be paid.
But Fifa made about $5.7 billion in the four years between the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Football’s world body now has 1,400 staff and is sitting on a cash mountain of about $1.5 billion.
The workaholic Blatter says his main achievement has been to make football “universal” — the first World Cups in Asia (South Korea and Japan in 2002, although the decision was taken before he became president) and Africa (South Africa in 2010) came in his tenure.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are given to national federations and in development grants.
But since the day he became president in 1998, accusations of skulduggery have never been far from Fifa. The latest are over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
In 2006 he tried to stop a book on Fifa’s scandals being published in Switzerland.
And so the football world was divided until the Zurich arrests this year.
Just before the Fifa election, Dominican Republic FA president Osiris Guzman compared Blatter to Jesus, Winston Churchill, Moses, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. The Asian, African and North-central American confederations all backed him.
But Europe turned against Blatter. Uefa leader Platini said Blatter lied when he said in 2011 that he would stand down when his fourth term ended in 2015.
Platini, now an arch-rival, said Blatter could not bear a life of “emptiness” without Fifa’s power and money. Blatter, married three times, has relied a lot on his daughter Corinne in recent months.
“He has a way of making people dependent or indebted to him, but not in a way that people regret it,” one Blatter confidant told AFP.
GONE... Michel Platini (left) and Sepp Blatter were banned eight years on Monday.