How Jurgen Klopp’s pre-match ritual gets in the opposition’s head

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Jurgen Klopp‘s halfway line stance ahead of Liverpool’s games is “off-putting” for members of the opposition, according to Brighton’s Glenn Murray.

The Liverpool boss has readily caught the eye with his pre-game ritual as he stands near the halfway line and stoically watches on as the opposition warm up.

He has been a quiet onlooker throughout his managing career, leading many to question if it is to intimidate, observe other team’s practices or simply that he is always watching his own team throughout the week and pre-game provides an opportunity to cast an eye elsewhere.

But whatever his motive, having his back turned on his own team and his gaze directed towards the opposition has proved unsettling, as Murray has attested to.

“Klopp does this thing before the game, I don’t know if anyone’s noticed it,” Murray told talkSPORT.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“So he’ll walk right up to the halfway line and stand right on the spot and he’ll just stare into the opposition half. It’s really off-putting.

“He just stands on the halfway line and just watches the opposition warm up.

“It really throws you the first time it happens because you’re like, ‘what is he doing? He’s not even looking at his own team, he’s just watching us’.

“He won’t break his view, he’ll just keep watching the whole time.

“It gets all the players talking, doesn’t it? Everyone’s like, ‘what’s he looking at? What’s going on?’ He sort of gets in your head before the game starts!”

And Murray is not alone in the experience, with former Derby striker reflecting on Klopp’s move prior to Liverpool’s League Cup meeting with the Rams in 2016.

“It’s funny Glenn says that because when I was at Derby, we played Liverpool in a cup game,” Bent recalled.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 14, 2019: Watford's manager Nigel Pearson during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

“We were warming up and he did the exact same thing. He stood on the halfway line and watched us warm up.

“It took Nigel Pearson, who was in charge at the time, to go, ‘what’s going on here?’ He walked up to Jurgen Klopp and went, ‘is everything alright?’ He said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ and trotted away.”

It would certainly be an unnerving sight and feeling to see Klopp staring you down with his arms folded as you prepare to face his side.

The game is all about finding areas to have an edge and clearly the manager’s stance, whether intentional or not, does just the trick.

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