Jurgen Klopp has revealed that almost every Liverpool player is fully vaccinated, comparing the anti-vax situation to the accepted laws against drink-driving.
With exemptions from the UK’s quarantine rules upon returning from red-listed countries only applying the players who are double-jabbed, the question of who has been vaccinated was raised.
The Brazilian FA have already confirmed that both Alisson and Fabinho will be able to travel freely for their World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay, without requiring a 10-day full isolation when back in England.
But speaking on the situation further, Klopp revealed that “99 percent” of his playing staff are already vaccinated, outlining his stance.
“I didn’t have to convince the players, it was more a natural decision from the team,” he replied when asked about reports of low vaccine take-up among Premier League players.
“I can’t remember really talking to a player in a one-to-one situation and explaining why he should, because I’m not a doctor.
“What I would give, like I do in a lot of other situations as well, is my advice. But it was not necessary.”
The social and political landscape in England is becoming increasingly more divisive, with the Brexit vote seemingly the tipping point for a surge of nationalism and fiercer lines between beliefs.
That has seen the debate over mandatory vaccines and the discourse around the subject become more antagonistic – which Klopp, rightly, cannot understand.
“In general, it sounds like we are not allowed to give people advice,” he continued.
“Where did I get the knowledge from where I think it makes sense to get the vaccination? I called doctors, who I’ve known for years.
“I called them and asked them ‘what do you think? What should I do?’.
“That’s how I usually work, if you don’t know about anything, you call a specialist. The people tell you: ‘From my point of view, I would tell you this or that’.
“That’s why I took the vaccination, obviously. I’m in the age group where it’s obviously not that easy anymore, and I was really happy when I could get it.”
Klopp’s comments could prove to be controversial, but they are also hugely sensible, as the manager compared the taboo nature of vaccines – seen by some as a “limitation of freedom” – with drink-driving.
“I don’t understand. Maybe I’m a little bit naive, but I don’t understand 100 percent why we are not allowed to give advice,” he said.
“It sounds like if I say ‘I’m vaccinated’, other people say ‘how can you say you are vaccinated? How can you tell me I should be vaccinated?’.
“I explain it for myself a little bit like drink-driving.
“We all probably have been in the situation where we’ve had a beer or two and thought we could still drive.
“But after law, we are not allowed to drive.
“This law is not there to protect me when I drink two beers and I drive, it’s there to protect all the other people, because I’m drunk or pissed and want to drive a car. And we accept that as a law.
“So, we all know that alcohol is bad for our body. But we still drink it. It’s not good for our body but we still drink it.
“With the vaccination, we assume it’s not good for our body, even though all the specialists – or most of the specialists, nearly all of them – out there say the vaccination is the solution for the situation in that moment.
“That’s exactly the same for me. I don’t take the vaccination only to protect me, I take the vaccination to protect all the people around me.”
Once again, Jurgen has absolutely nailed a tricky topic for wider society and provided an excellent analogy in the process. He’s also shown, again, that he isn’t afraid to speak out on divisive topics, which is something more public figures should be comfortable doing.