Wednesday 26 April 2017

Ronnie Whelan: Monday Night Football is a bad idea for Jurgen Klopp... does he want to end up like Brendan Rodgers?

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Ronnie Whelan

Ronnie Whelan

Jurgen Klopp will be on Sky tonight with Jamie Carragher and I don’t think that’s a good idea. What’s in it for Liverpool Football Club?

I don’t know whether there is a contractual obligation now under the new deal which means that clubs have to put their manager on stage for rights holders, but if there is, he could always have said no.

I know Klopp is good in front of the camera and I would trust him not to say anything stupid, but I wonder will we see Pep Guardiola or José Mourinho on Monday Night Football?

Can you imagine if Sky had asked Alex Ferguson or Kenny Dalglish to become a talking head? They would have got their answer, alright.

Klopp has hardly put a foot wrong in all his club press conferences and I think the journalists who work the beat are delighted with his refreshing honesty, but sometimes that can get you into trouble.

I’m not sure we need more Jurgen Klopp and he only has to look at his predecessor’s time at Anfield for a lesson in what over-exposure can do to a manager.

Brendan Rodgers became a parody of himself towards the end of his spell at Anfield, simply because he didn’t seem to know when to say nothing.

Every time he turned up in front of a camera, his words became more flaky, but he made himself available when he would have been better served hunkering down.

I know I’m a bit compromised in this, because I work in the media. But I do believe that cameras are becoming ever more intrusive.

In recent years, we see managers interviewed before games and I’m amazed that they are prepared to do this at a time when the only thing on their mind should be the match.

As far as Klopp is concerned, maybe he’s smart enough to turn this to his advantage and make Liverpool everyone’s favourite second team, but I can’t help thinking that an appearance on a show like this carries a risk that he is setting himself up for a fall.

Fortunately, it is only a small concern after Saturday’s fantastic demolition of Hull. Klopp said after the game that this is the way football should be played and I had to agree.

Ferocious pace, great precision and quick accurate passing were the foundations for the win and Klopp’s influence was all over the performance.

However, ever time I allow myself a pleasant daydream and the possibility that Liverpool will continue like this for the rest of the season and really challenge for the title, I see Guardiola’s team cruising along and I hear the Manchester City manager say he wants more from Sergio Aguero.

I’m not sure what Aguero can do, other than to score a few more goals, which he will probably do anyway, but the message from Guardiola is clear. He is setting a high standard and that’s why he is asking for more from his best player.

Manchester City already have a four-point gap at the top of the table and from everything I’ve see of this team so far, there’s a very good chance that they will keep doing it for a prolonged run.

In fact, it would be no surprise if they pulled away from everyone else in the coming months and won’t be backable for the title by the time Christmas comes along.

All Guardiola’s title rivals had a good weekend, apart from the champions Leicester, who were pulled apart by the most balanced looking Man Utd team Mourinho has put out this season.

He achieved that by dropping Wayne Rooney, one of the easiest calls he has ever had to make given his captain’s form since the season started.

But don’t write Rooney off as a major player in United’s season yet.

It looks to me that he has made a pact with Mourinho and a bit like Martin O’Neill and Robbie Keane, will stay around to help his new manager while his influence on the pitch decreases.

I was delighted to see O’Neill finally end all the speculation by signing a new contract with the FAI which made me wonder what the delay was in the first place.

But simply by signing, O’Neill has put an end to all questions about his intentions.

As he said, he’s made his commitment now and let’s get on with it.

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