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GRAEME SOUNESS: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a sore loser and that aggression is NOT a good look



GRAEME SOUNESS: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a sore loser and that aggression is NOT a good look

I have no problem with Sam Allardyce saying he is as good as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, even though a lot of the footballing world would disagree. But the single biggest reason he was offered the Leeds job? That is Roy Hodgson.

It is not because of what Sam did two years ago at West Bromwich Albion, who were relegated from the Premier League. It is because Leeds have looked at the impact Roy has made at Crystal Palace and it has served as an advert for older, British managers.

That is not to say I disagree with Sam’s appointment. I wrote in this column in February that Leeds should go for someone like him or Harry Redknapp. It makes sense. He knows the demands of the Premier League and the players he’ll be working with.

But these owners are often swayed by what is happening elsewhere. Leeds’ last three coaches have been Marcelo Bielsa, Jesse Marsch and Javi Gracia, all very different to Sam.

Roy, though, has gone in at Palace and all of a sudden it looks like they’ve got an extra yard. They’re winning games and are now safe. Sam, as well as Dean Smith at Leicester, have profited from that.

I have no problem with new Leeds manager Sam Allardyce admitting his self-confidence

The former England boss joined the relegation-threatened Yorkshire club on Wednesday

But the single biggest reason he was offered the Leeds job? That is Roy Hodgson (pictured) – because Leeds have seen the recent success the 75-year-old has enjoyed at Crystal Palace

Sam feels he should have had one of the big club jobs earlier in his career. It’s tremendous to have that confidence. People will laugh at his comments, but that’s Sam, that’s his personality. He rates himself. There is nothing wrong with that belief.

We’ll never know if he could have achieved what Guardiola and Klopp have done. He didn’t get one of those jobs and it won’t happen now. But I don’t go along with the idea of a prejudice against British managers.

Sam says he has been perceived incorrectly as a long-ball merchant. In his time at Bolton, though, I believe the priority was to get the ball forward as quickly as they could. I also recall one night at the Reebok when Jay-Jay Okocha, their most creative player, was running back and forth across the pitch taking long throw-ins.

His arms and shoulders must have been sore the next morning. When within range, he’d hurl balls into the box for Kevin Davies to create chaos. It was frustrating because it slowed everything down. It was direct, but it got results.

What he has to do now is work out a way to nick some points with the players he has been given. He doesn’t have enough time to impose any style of play. Leeds might not even need another point, or one win could be enough. If that is the case, I think it will still go down to the wire.

They’re at Manchester City on Saturday and at home to Newcastle next Saturday. Anything from those two is a bonus. After that it’s West Ham away, who may still need something to be safe. Spurs at a noisy Elland Road is their best hope for victory — but that’s the last day of the season.

It feels like they’re going to need results elsewhere to go their way, and that could happen, because none of the teams down there look particularly capable of saving themselves. Either way, it’s a no-lose situation for Sam. I don’t think he’ll be criticised if they go down. He has four matches and they’ve taken one point from their last five.

He has the chance to be a hero and, if they do stay up, he’ll probably get a two-year contract. For Leeds, it’s a wise move in their situation. If only they’d taken that decision in February when I first suggested it.

Klopp’s a sore loser and that aggression is not a good look

What Jurgen Klopp did on Sunday, by running up to the fourth official and getting in his face, overstepped the mark. I have been a manager and I know there have been times when I was embarrassed by my actions.

When you’re that aggressive towards an official, it is not a good look. It is not an argument you’re going to win and it will end up getting you in trouble, like Klopp has.

I have sat behind Liverpool’s dugout in an empty stadium, the game at home to Chelsea when they won the league three years ago.

I learnt that night that their bench is up for an argument, and it’s not just Klopp, they’re all at it. They’re very confrontational.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (centre) is a bad loser and he is far too aggressive on the sidelines

But I have been a manager and I know there are times when I was embarrassed by my actions

I later read Mark Clattenburg’s autobiography and I recall him saying that Klopp was the worst of all the managers when it came to being a sore loser. That is what we are seeing.

When you’re a manager, you’re two different people. If Liverpool are having a great season and Klopp’s team are playing really well, that incident with the official doesn’t happen.

Last week against Spurs captured their season in 90 minutes — the good and bad. That frustration has shown itself in a negative way for Klopp, and he’ll know that. He will try to make sure it won’t happen again, but you can’t guarantee it.

He’s a passionate man and Liverpool will have to improve on the field before he is happy and feeling calmer within himself.

The German sprinted over to fourth official John Brooks (centre) to celebrate after Diogo Jota’s stoppage-time winner saw his side secure a dramatic, contentious 4-3 win against Tottenham

Klopp pulled a hamstring due to his actions and that proves that he overstepped the mark

I celebrate my 70th birthday on Saturday. Would you believe, there are still nights when I dream I am a footballer. I occasionally have to apologise for kicking my wife when I’m asleep! It happens once a month, when I wake up and, for a nano-second, I think I’m going to training.

What does this tell me? I’m still in love with the game. I always will be. It is why me leaving Sky Sports this week is not the end of anything. It is just the start of a new chapter. I’ve not hung up my boots and I’m very much open for business.

I really enjoy doing this column and I have always worked on the premise, ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’. I like to feel I’m still taking part in the game of life. It’s a good thing that you get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, and I’ll never allow myself to get cosy.

But I have to say, the messages I have had this week have really surprised me, in the nicest possible way. Football guys and ex-players who aren’t necessarily friends have gone out of their way to get my number. That means a lot.

I look back on my Sky years as just fantastic. I was getting my football fix by going to great stadiums, seeing great games and enjoying great atmospheres. Once off air, I could go home and sleep at night. It was all the good bits from football without the bad bits.

I realised after leaving Newcastle in 2006 that management was no longer for me, because of my type of personality. I couldn’t let things go if I thought someone was not giving me everything. People will say I was too confrontational, and I’ll accept that criticism. That was the way I learned my football from true greats of the game.

The likes of Jock Stein, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Ronnie Moran, Jack Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson. I went to football’s equivalent of Cambridge and Oxford. But that doesn’t work anymore. You have to be a diplomat more than I could ever hope to be in my lifetime.

I’ve had to apply the same discipline to my media work, although sometimes you end up being a tad aggressive in making your point. I must apologise if I ever went too far!

I celebrate my 70th birthday soon – and there are still nights when I dream I am a footballer

Me leaving Sky Sports this week is not the end of anything – It is just the start of a new chapter

Other than Manchester City, the one place you don’t want to go needing a result right now is Newcastle.

Arsenal will find that out on Sunday and this a real test of their ability to stay in the title race. Their last away game, at City, they were beaten up. They were lucky not to concede seven.

They were better in midweek at home to Chelsea, but the visitors were woeful. Newcastle will be the opposite of that.

I hear their fans are planning another display with their flags and scarves. It looks like a special place to be playing your football.

I have managed there. On the occasions we got it going, St James’ Park really is unique. For me, it is right up there with Anfield.

When St James’ Park gets going, it is one of the best atmospheres in England. Arsenal beware!


‘He will be moving’: David Ornstein suggests Liverpool and Man United are going to battle to sign £70m star

Liverpool and Manchester United will go head to head for Alexis Mac Allister’s signature this summer according to David Ornstein.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Back Pages Podcast, Ornstein was speaking about the market to sign midfielders this summer, and the journalist made the very astute point that there is more demand than supply this summer.

Mac Allister has been at the centre of a lot of speculation as of late, and according to Ornstein, there’s set to be a head-to-head battle between the two north west giants for the player’s signature.

Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty ImagesLiverpool vs Manchester United

Ornstein shared what he knows about the £70m star.

“The midfield position that you mention has demand outweighing the supply. There are questions about whether Alexis Mac Allister has a release clause, we will have to wait and see, there seems to be a sense of certainty that he will be moving on, which may indicate that there may be a clause or that there is an agreement of sorts,” Ornstein said.

“Liverpool, it is well documented they have a concrete interest in him and his stock appears to be rising, but there may be a battle for him with Manchester United said to be very keen on him as well,” Ornstein said.

Seen this before

Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Liverpool and Man United go head to head for a transfer target, is it?

Last summer, both clubs were chasing Darwin Nunez, with the Uruguayan ultimately ending up at Liverpool, while in the winter transfer window, Manchester United were seemingly set to sign Cody Gakpo before he went to Anfield instead.

If that trend continues, expect to see Mac Allister at Liverpool. However, things could be slightly different this summer depending on how this final race for the top four pans out.


Liverpool midfielder agrees move to Premier League rival

Brighton and Hove Albion kept their hopes of qualifying for European competition next term alive with a dramatic victory over Manchester United on Thursday.

The two sides looked to have played out a goalless draw at The Amex, before the Seagulls were awarded a penalty deep into added time after Luke Shaw was judged to have handed the ball in the area.

Alexis Mac Allister stepped up and duly dispatched the spot-kick in the 99th minute of the match, much to the delight of manager Roberto De Zerbi.

Brighton now sit sixth in the Premier League table, two points behind fifth-placed Liverpool.

The two sides will both be battling to finish as high as possible, although Jurgen Klopp’s side will likely have one eye on the top four and a place in the Champions League.

Now, it appears that one of Klopp’s current players will be on his way to Brighton this summer.

According to Fabrizio Romano, midfielder James Milner has agreed to join the south coast side when his Liverpool contract expires this summer.

Milner is set to join Brighton and Hove Albion this summer

Milner, 37, remains a regular for the Reds at present, but his deal expires in a matter of weeks and it appears that he will be departing Anfield.

The ex-England international joined Liverpool on a free transfer in 2015 having departed rivals Manchester City, and he has since made more than 320 appearances for The Reds across all competitions.

The Englishman played crucial roles in Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League triumph, and also as they won the Premier League title in 2020.

He has also made 39 appearances across all competitions so far this term, but Romano claims that the player is set to depart Anfield this summer.

It is claimed that the former Leeds United and Aston Villa man will sign an initial one-year contract with Brighton, which would take him past his 38th birthday.