Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp dismisses trophy curse talk as 2 more near-misses loom
It has always been simple to point at Jurgen Klopp’s unfortunate record in finals and draw some damning conclusions. After all, P7 L6 suggests an unlucky manager.
It is a simplistic argument that ignores the opposition and the circumstance of each individual game. Yet in a season when 97 points is likely to deliver only second when matching and even outplaying Barcelona in the Nou Camp results in Champions League disaster, it is hard not to wonder if he is just a little cursed?
He is puzzled by the question, though.
“No! Really never…,” he says.
“As far as I know I’m healthy, my family is healthy, I do the job I love. That makes me already a very fortunate person.”
It is his nature. Maybe he hasn’t learned the word 'cursed' because he doesn’t need it, such is his positivity and enthusiasm.
He laughs when the inevitable question of failure is floated.
Of course, Liverpool can still, win this title, but they need a victory in Newcastle on Saturday night and then, provided it's not already as good as over, next Sunday at home against Wolves to heap the pressure on Manchester City.
Yet if it doesn’t happen, Klopp will not feel cursed. He will still feel it is a “special” season. And he will not be crushed by the record-breaking manner in which his side would miss out on honours.
“Try everything you can. Take and get what you can and if not try it again if you are ready for it,” he says with a shy smile.
“And I am ready for it. That is what I am - I was never cursed. I don’t feel cursed, though it’s an interesting word!”
Klopp appears genuinely relaxed on the subject, in part because his nature doesn’t allow him to become broken over setbacks, large or small. Each one is always an opportunity to learn and progress.
He won his first final — one of the biggest upsets in German football when Borussia Dortmund dismantled mighty Bayern back in 2012. Since then though, with Dortmund and Liverpool, it has only been pain.
Yet he doesn’t believe it’s fate; that some managers are destined to win more than others; that he is the unlucky one.
He feels special he says, to be working at this level and with these players. It is part of his make-up, and he will never be broken by ‘failure’.
“I don’t think somebody has to win more than others, I try everything I can,” he says, with the implication that he will keep trying until his final day as a manager. “If it happens, it happens. If not, then not. So I say I am not ready to let these things take me down. I was never like this.
“I think now these defeats are the biggest defeats in my life. Yet if you’d ask me 30 years ago even before I became a manager, I had defeats in my life which really I felt were the biggest in my life.
"But I still carried on. So for me, that’s what it is about. That is what I am.”
It is a philosophy Liverpool will need to embrace passionately over the next three games if they are to get anything at all out of this season.
Impossible? Possibly… but possibly not with Jurgen Klopp.
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