Football Football
Horse Racing Horse Racing
Cricket Cricket
Basketball Basketball
Golf Golf

Patrick Berger: I thought Klopp’s announcement was fake news

06 Mar | news | BY Betway Insider | MIN READ TIME |
Patrick Berger: I thought Klopp’s announcement was fake news
Source: Alamy Stock Photo

In our exclusive interview, the former Liverpool midfielder predicts his Premier League winner, and discusses why it hasn't worked out for Harry Kane at Bayern Munich.

Visit Betway’s Premier League betting page.

What were your initial thoughts when Klopp announced he was leaving at the end of the season?

I thought it was a fake news to be honest with you. As with everybody else, I couldn’t believe it was the truth. Then I was like, wow, is this really the right time to announce that you’re going to be leaving?

But it’s been a couple of weeks now and I think it probably has been the right time, so that everybody knows what’s going to happen at the end of the season. The club has time to look for the replacement and the players knows that this is the last couple of months they’re going to have with Jurgen Klopp.

The announcement of Klopp leaving doesn’t seem to have distracted the squad, are they showing signs of future champions?

You can see that the relationship between him and the players is fantastic. Everyone loves him. So I’m sure that they’re going to try to win trophies even more just for him because he’s leaving. They managed to do that already in the Carabao Cup and I believe they will give 150 per cent every single game to give him the best goodbye.

But I don’t really know what it’s going to be like when he leaves because he did his homework before joining Liverpool. He knew what it meant to be manager of Liverpool, the connection between the club and the fans and the city. He has been unbelievable throughout the nine years since he signed for Liverpool.

One point to make is that Liverpool has been before Klopp, and it’s going to be after Klopp as well. But obviously it’s going to be a sad moment.

Xabi Alonso has been linked with both the Liverpool and Bayern Munich jobs after how well his Leverkusen team has performed this season. Do you think he would be the right appointment?

It doesn’t matter who it’s going to be – it’s going to be very difficult for a new manager to step in. I think whoever is going to be the new coach, nobody should try to copy Klopp. You just need to get in and be yourself and try to do the job well.

The rumours are Xabi Alonso could be one of the candidates, which makes sense as he’s doing a remarkable job at Leverkusen. One massive factor as well is he played for Liverpool, so he knows the city, he knows what it means to play for Liverpool. He’s been an unbelievable footballer, and he’s been learning from Ancelotti and Guardiola.

Alonso could be the right man for the job. He will have the fans behind him straight away. But I have no idea what other candidates there could be as no one stands out. Overall, I wouldn’t mind if it’s Alonso as the new Liverpool manager because I think he has been doing unbelievable job for Leverkusen and is going to win the title in Bundesliga this season.

Darwin Nunez scored another late goal to give Liverpool a win against Forest at the weekend. How important will he be for Liverpool in the title race?

They bought him for quite a lot of money and I think especially last season the Liverpool fans were not sure he could be a success. They didn’t know what to think. He was scoring goals, but he had so many chances. But if you look at the stats this season, he has 14 goals and 11 assists, so he’s a very important player and he has scored a couple important goals. He’s still learning the language to feel more comfortable and this takes time.

Ever since Nunez signed for Liverpool, Klopp has given him 100 per cent support, which gives the player confidence. He was always saying that he’s a great finisher, he knows how to score, he just needs a little bit of more time. This season Nunez has showed in a big way that he is the man for the big occasion and will be a crucial player for the rest of the season.

Is Virgil Van Dijk back to his best now?

Even if people know you’re one of the best defenders of all time, you’re going to get ups and downs in your career. It’s normal. Liverpool didn’t have the best season last year and Van Dijk’s level dropped, as did the whole team.

But this season Van Dijk has been back to his best, and if you watch the performance in the final I don’t even think he was sweating during the game. He won every tackle, every header, he was leading the youngsters and the whole team. It was one of the best centre-back performances I have seen in a very long time. With Jordan Henderson leaving, Van Dijk’s the leader now. He’s been fully fit, he’s playing in most of the games and it’s great to have him back at his best.

How impressed have the youngsters been for Liverpool so far this season?

I went to Wembley to watch the Carabao Cup Final and it was unbelievable to see how many injuries Liverpool had for one of the biggest games of the season. I think most of the young lads wouldn’t be involved if all the players had been fit but that was not the case, so Jurgen Klopp had to adapt to the situation. I believe most of the lads are training with the first team, though,  so they know what to do. They know what Jurgen Klopp is expecting from them and obviously they’re good enough to play and they just proved what they can do on the big stage. It seemed like they have been playing for the first team already for a couple of years. For me to be at Wembley watching the youngsters against Chelsea, they proved they can beat world champions, international players in probably the most expensive team in the history of the Premier League. So, the future looks bright even if Klopp is leaving at the end of the season.

What are your predictions for when Liverpool play Manchester City at the weekend?

The fans will play a massive part. They’re huge. They always have been. It’s the 12th player and they will play a massive part in that game. I don’t think Manchester City, when they play at Anfield, come away with many positive results. So hopefully that’s going to stay the same.

But obviously it’s Manchester City. I watched the Manchester derby on Sunday, and they were one-nil down but kept the ball so well. They’re not going to change the way they play. They will continue to dominate possession and play their progressive style of football and create loads of chances.

Haaland can score from any angle. Foden is in great form. Rodri is dominant. They have so many good players, there is no weaknesses in their side. But they are going to Anfield and it’s a difficult place to go to. It’s a massive game. It’s a huge game. I think if Liverpool can get the win, then it’s a little bit closer to the title.

Looking at the Liverpool injury situation, Nunez came on as a sub and so did Szoboszlai against Nottingham Forest, so hopefully they can be ready for Sunday. Hopefully some of the other players can get a couple of minutes on Thursday against Prague as well.

In terms of prediction, I believe that Liverpool are going to win. It’s going to be a tough game. It’s going to be very close, but I believe that Anfield is going to be the difference.

It’s looking like a really exciting run in for the title this year, who do you think will win the Premier League?

Well, I think that all the teams are experienced in some capacity. Starting with Arsenal, they came so close last season and will have learned from that experience and this year, they seem to be coming into the business end of the season in great form and with Rice on board, this can give them that edge they were missing, and Saliba is fit which hindered them last year. If Arsenal learn how to play under the pressure, they are right in the mix.

Liverpool and Manchester City are experienced. They know how to play under pressure know how to get the job done. So it is going to be about the three teams. You just need to keep winning games because if you don’t and draw one or two games then you can be out of the title race very quickly.

All three teams know that they need to keep winning and they all have difficult fixtures. They still have a lot of big games ahead. The Premier League is a very tough competition. I think it’s going to go all the way to the last game of the, you know, I believe so and it would be great for everyone. And at the end of it Liverpool are going to lift the trophy. I hope we can get it done this year.

Liverpool have been linked with a move for Brentford winger Bryan Mbuemo, do you think he would be a good addition to the squad?

I have seen him play and he is a good player. Is he a player who can make it in the first team at Liverpool? I am not sure. But you do need good squad players and he can score goals in the Premier League, so this is important in looking at adding to your squad.

Why do you think it hasn’t worked out for Bayern and Harry Kane so far this season?

I watched the game between Bayern Munich against Leverkusen and you could see that the Leverkusen players played for the manager, which I didn’t see that in the Bayern Munich side. I think there must be something going on in the dressing room in the relationship between the players and the manager.

For Harry Kane, he is scoring goals like he always has, but some unrest in the dressing room means his move to Bayern will not end with a title this season.

Leverkusen were the better side when they played Bayern Munich and now have a ten-point lead at the top. They are still in the German Cup so it can be a great season for them. For me they will be champions which is a superb achievement.

Jamal Musiala has reportedly rejected a new contract offer from Bayern, should Premier League clubs be going all out to sign him this summer?

For sure, he is a great player and knows how to win. He is experienced and the Premier League can be a big challenge for him and am sure he will have a lot of suitors who will be looking to sign him.

Betway Insider

Betway Insider

The Insider is an editorial blog for Betway, one of the best betting sites, featuring sporting insight, intelligent comment and informed betting tips for football betting and all other major sports.

Betway Insider

Betway Insider

The Insider is an editorial blog for Betway, one of the best betting sites, featuring sporting insight, intelligent comment and informed betting tips for football betting and all other major sports.