Jurgen Klopp Discusses John Henry, Super League, Restructured Champions League

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 23, 2021

LEEDS, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Juergen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Liverpool at Elland Road on April 19, 2021 in Leeds, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Friday he didn't speak with club owner John Henry about the failed Super League efforts.

"I know the owners, I know there have been moments they didn't make the right decisions, this time, for sure," Klopp told reporters. "I will speak to them. I will tell them, 'if you'd asked me, I would have said no.' They made a decision for some reasons. I don't know them. I don't need the explanation. I have so much to talk about with them. This won't be part of it. We have to plan our future."

The German added that while he's happy the Reds won't be involved in the Super League, there are still questions related to the proposed restructure of the UEFA Champions League.

"Everyone knows my opinion on more games," Klopp said. "Yes, the Super League is off the table. Good. Very good. But it's not the case that the new Champions League is great. UEFA showed me the idea, and I said I don't like it, 10 games rather than six. No idea where to put them in."

Henry issued an apology to Liverpool supporters Wednesday, saying Klopp and the players held no responsibility for the "disruption" caused by the owners:

Liverpool FC @LFC

John W Henry's message to Liverpool supporters. pic.twitter.com/pHW3RbOcKu

The short-lived Super League plans called for 15 permanent clubs, including Liverpool and five Premier League rivals, and five additional qualifying berths to create an annual tournament that would have threatened the existence of the Champions League.

It sparked massive fan outrage aimed at the apparent greed shown by Europe's top clubs, and UEFA cautioned clubs that it would work with FIFA to ban players from international competitions, including the World Cup, if they took part in future ESL matches.

The Super League suspended operations Tuesday after several of the founding clubs backed out.

The Champions League, meanwhile, announced a plan to reform its competition, including an increase in the number of matches for the 36 qualifying clubs from six to 10 beginning in 2024.

Instead of a group format, the tournament would begin with the teams placed into a table. The top eight would advance to the knockout rounds, and the next 16 in the standings would compete in head-to-head fixtures for an opportunity to reach the knockout stages.

Questions have been raised about whether there's enough space in the schedule for at least four additional matches as managers juggle domestic leagues and cups in addition to the UCL.

The debates about how to move forward come as clubs around Europe struggle with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. French Ligue 1 club Bordeaux was placed into administration earlier Friday when its owners pulled out of their financial commitment.

Meanwhile, the 2020-21 season moves forward with Liverpool set to host Newcastle United at Anfield on Saturday in the Premier League.

Klopp provided an update on forward Diogo Jota, saying he's "fine" despite not appearing on the training field Thursday, which had raised concerns about his availability.

The Reds are seventh in the Premier League table with six matches to play, but a top-four finish is still within reach.