‘Pep showed class and Klopp threw his toys out of the pram’

After our win last month against the previously undefeated Liverpool, it seemed that the phrase ‘Sei Kein schlechter verlierer’ is something that the darling of the tabloid press doesn’t have in his repertoire. The English translation of those four German words is ‘don’t be a sore loser’ but it seems that from his outbursts Herr Klip Klopp falls very much into that category. 

We all know that losing at football is something that is pretty alien to a German but it was so galling to see a respected manager make a fool of himself and moan and groan about the referee decisions in that game. He also bemoaned that Liverpool’s unbeaten run was over not by the play of a team who are ‘massive’ at the moment, but because he believed that a moment of the game which had already been checked by VAR was still wrong.

At times during his post-game press conference it seemed as if he was going to throw his toys out of his pram whilst uttering the words ‘Ich werde schreien und schreien, bis ich krank bin! Es ist nicht fair’. Or in English ‘It is not fair! I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick!’ It was simply embarrassing and even a full week later he was still moaning about the referee.

What was equally alarming was the fact that the Liverpool goalkeeper, whilst on international duty with Brazil, could not stop from stating how he was treated badly.  It seems that his manager had influenced the playing staff too with his unfairness complaint.

There was, of course, nothing mentioned in relation to the tackle a short while later which may have resulted in Ogbonna suffering a possible season-ending injury, a tackle in which the Liverpool transgressor went largely unpunished.

I have to admit that prior to his throwing his toys out of the pram incident, I quite liked Jurgen. He was a breath of fresh air who was always available for a quick quip and of course the tabloid press absolutely love him.

Driving to that game a few weeks ago, this Jurgen love-in was in full bloom on the radio with several presenters stating that this was one of the best Liverpool teams ever assembled – I guess they were asleep in the seventies – and the question was even being asked could Liverpool be the latest team to go undefeated for a full season. Of course all that came tumbling down a few hours later when, despite having 70% possession, that undefeated run was over but not, in the Liverpool manager’s eyes, due to being outclassed by the opposition but because the referee and those in the VAR booth got one call wrong. 

Now being a West Ham supporter of almost 50 years I may be seen as biased but there was no mention from the Liverpool manager of the dive which led to the free kick for the Liverpool first goal or countless other ‘big four’ calls that occurred during the game. Being the darling of the press and one of what I class as the big three managers in the Premier League, the others in my eyes being Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola, Klopp seemed to feel his team has a right to benefit not lose out to refereeing decisions. 

It brings to question how would the other two I’ve already mentioned react to a West Ham defeat? Well, as I write, we have yet to play Chelsea but we have recently beat Manchester City albeit on penalties.

The cup win against Citie must have been hard to stomach for the Citie management, after all if the cup was similar to the original World Cup, Manchester City would now be the proud permanent owners of the Carabao Cup as their dominance has been strong. It would have been almost a natural occurrence for Pep Guardiola to come out after the game and talk about being robbed, after all, unlike Liverpool, Manchester City had over large parts dominated the game. 

But instead Pep said: ‘Congratulations to West Ham for their qualification. One of the toughest games we played at home last season was against them. They are doing well in the Premier League and in the Europa League and now in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Fantastic team and fantastic manager.’ Contrast that with Klopp’s comments of: ‘If you don’t take your chances you’re leaving things up to the ref’s decisions’. 

There was absolutely no reference to how well West Ham played or the fact that David Moyes is doing a fantastic job. There was no reference to the fact that Declan Rice ran the show and Kurt Zouma was immense, or even the fact that Liverpool didn’t just concede one goal but three. Not a word. 

His tantrum even resulted in an attack on the very people who have helped raise his media presence when he told reporters: ‘My God! I am not your puppy’. His rant was almost Keegan like – those of a younger age may need to google that reference.

But it is clear that not all great managers are the same. The Liverpool defeat at the London Stadium is a mere blip.  After all, after that result Liverpool were still in the top four and will inevitably be in one of those places come the end of the season.

However for Manchester City when the last weekend of February comes around they will be at Goodison Park and not at Wembley. There is no return from a cup defeat until a year later. Yet Pep was magnanimous in his praise for a West Ham team that had inflicted Citie’s first defeat in the League Cup in five years and had prevented his team from winning the cup for the fifth time in a row. 

The contrast between two managers is clear to be seen. Pep Guardiola has won 12 league championships and numerous cups compared to Norbert’s three – did you know that’s Klopp’s middle name? The mark of a real man cannot be seen in just the win column. There are several key ways to get over a loss. 

Psychologists will say that your ability to maintain a positive attitude, learn, and move forward will determine whether you win or lose in the future. One aspect is to actually own the loss. In other words, don’t look for excuses or cast blame.

Accept responsibility for the loss or you’ll never take corrective action to better yourself. It seems that Pep believes in that philosophy and Jurgen doesn’t and we all know which manager earns the greater respect after those two games against the Hammers.

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