Ever wondered whether Jurgen Klopp actually writes his column for Liverpool’s matchday programme? We go behind the scenes after his latest emphatic address.
It is the first page many supporters will thumb to when they are reading the programme before kickoff at Anfield.
Klopp’s matchday notes often single particular players out for praise or cover popular narratives in the buildup to the fixture in question.
Other times, such as ahead of the 240th Merseyside derby, the manager tackles a more sensitive topic, with Klopp using this latest column to criticise opposition fans singing about the 97.
The thing to remember about Jürgen’s (and Hendo’s) programme notes is that we never tell them what to write or even ask any questions. Completely upto them what goes in. So always remember their words are genuine ?? #LIVEVE #LFC pic.twitter.com/u5miWo5CxP
— Chris Mac (@chrismackop) April 23, 2022
“Really? The deaths of 97 people in a tragedy is now something that can be mocked? How did this happen?” he said.
Klopp would later add: “I will say this very clearly: if you are going to a football match to sing about people losing their lives you really should not bother coming.
“Football does not want this and football does not need this.”
It is a powerful message from the manager, but given they are written, rather than verbal, some could question whether they are, in fact, Klopp’s words.
This Is Anfield spoke to Chris McLoughlin, senior writer for Reach Sport including Liverpool’s official matchday programme and the Liverpool FC Magazine, to find out exactly how Klopp’s column is put together.
“Jurgen Klopp regards his programme notes as an important method of addressing Liverpool supporters directly,” McLoughlin explains.
“Hence his words in those columns have been quoted countless times on TV, online and in the written press.
“He doesn’t sit in his office and type them himself like Bill Shankly used to on his typewriter but dictates what he wants to say to LFC’s press officer, who emails them over on the morning we go to print.”
The manager, it would seem, values his programme notes more than the press conferences that are held before and after every Liverpool game – for one clear reason.
“Klopp sets the agenda for those notes – as does Jordan Henderson who personally supplies his captain’s column to us – whereas in every interview you’ve ever seen Jurgen give he is responding to questions and agendas set by others,” McLoughlin adds.
“That’s what makes the Liverpool FC matchday programme unique.
“The Liverpool manager has carte blanche and it’s the only place he talks about what he wants to talk about without being asked to.
“That makes it unmissable in my eyes.”
It is a credit to the manager, then, that he would look to use his programme notes to cast light on the Hillsborough chants that clouded recent matches against Man City and Man United, when he could have easily glossed over it.
That is the stance many in the media, and even opposition managers, take despite the ferocity with which “the S*n was right, you’re murderers” could be heard within away ends.
“He’s always been very honest when writing about Hillsborough, saying others know more about it than him, yet his compassion has always been genuine and shone through,” says McLoughlin.
“He feels it. He gets it. He cares.
“And that’s why he has used his programme notes for the Everton game to address the chants, from recent games against other opponents, that have mocked the disaster and used it to score points.
“We didn’t know he was going to use his programme column to do this; he simply felt he should in the hope it helps to try to put an end to such unacceptable behaviour by keeping it in the spotlight.”