Jurgen Klopp has stressed that Liverpool are “especially sensitive” regarding young players, following bullying claims from the agent of Bobby Duncan.
Duncan’s representative Saif Rubie has come under widespread criticism following the release of a statement on the future of his client on Wednesday.
Rubie accused the club of “mentally bullying” Duncan as he attempted to push for a move away, with his comments on the 18-year-old’s mental health confused amid references to his “small salary” and relationship with Steven Gerrard.
Naturally, the focus should be on Duncan’s well-being, but Liverpool issued their own statement later in the day describing Rubie’s claims as “unfounded.”
Asked about the situation in his pre-Burnley press conference on Friday, Klopp backed the club’s stance, and insisted they “really care about our young players.”
“We have an official statement about that. Really that’s the situation,” he told reporters.
“I would say it’s really difficult to speak about as a not native speaker, because it’s really important, obviously, that each word is the right one.
“What I can say is—and Bobby is one of our young players—that we really care about our young players. Really, really care. And that’s pretty much all I can say.
“I know that from the club, I’m four years in and I know that we are like this.
“Not only with young players, with all players in football, sometimes contract things can then—not be a massive problem, because there are bigger problems in life—be a problem, because one wants to extend, or not extend, or whatever.
“That’s a completely normal situation, with all generations, with all age groups, it’s always the same.
“It’s a normal thing. But with young players we are especially sensitive.
“If I now say something more about it that will just create headlines, which is not important in this case. Nobody needs to read headlines.
“We have to do the right things. All the different parties, I would say, have to do the right things, then everything will be fine.
“It’s not about having any big lines from the manager. We are really in the situation and that’s all I can say about it.”
Klopp was also asked whether he had spoken with Duncan privately, and suggested he had not in the days following Rubie’s statement, but referenced his involvement in pre-season with the first team.
“Of course [I have talked to Bobby], but ‘when?’ is the question,” he explained.
“Of course, I’ve talked to Bobby. He had pre-season with us—that’s it.”