Wednesday 22 November 2017

Foxes board not the players are to blame for Ranieri sacking, insists Klopp

Klopp: Mutual respect essential. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Klopp: Mutual respect essential. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes says the idea of 'player power' is exaggerated and claims only the Leicester City board, not the dressing room, should be held responsible for Claudio Ranieri's sacking last week.

The debate regarding the circumstances of Ranieri's dismissal continues but Klopp, who takes his side to the King Power Stadium tonight, rejected the accusation that players force owners to act.

"Players are not more powerful. We were much more powerful in the past," he said.

"It depends always on the board. As long as the players talk together there is no problem. If they start talking (to the board) about you, for this you need an ear on the other side.

"It is not about how powerful (the players are). The players need to be powerful but not in sacking managers. It's not like the Leicester players did it. It is if someone asked, they gave an answer.

"If there is a direct way to the board, the owners sit with the players and ask 'how are you?' and they say 'not too good because of the manager'. I have never experienced this situation, but I know it has happened."

In contrast to events elsewhere, the warmth between Klopp and his players is evident, his on-field hugs noticeable following every encouraging performance.

Prior to Liverpool's last Premier League victory - a 2-0 win over Spurs - his players held a meeting to demand more from each other and Klopp acknowledges that mutual respect is essential.

"As a player I had more meetings without the manager in these sorts of times than with the manager," said Klopp. "It is never a problem. I told the boys do it even when the public are aware of it being without the manager. I don't have a second of doubt about my relationship with the team. I don't have to be part of different things."

Klopp has no doubts his players will be able to switch on their competitive instincts after 16 days between games - their longest period of inactivity of the season.

That is a marked contrast to the previous month when they played 10 games in 32 days.

The victory over fellow top-four rivals Tottenham on February 11 seems a long time ago but Klopp expects his refreshed players to come flying out of the blocks.

"It's two weeks - that's not a real problem. We played in La Manga - an internal game but it was a proper game - and we had sessions. It was a proper camp."

Dejan Lovren remains a doubt with a knee injury that forced him to miss the last two matches.

Daniel Sturridge is also a concern as he is still suffering the effects of a virus which forced him to return home early from Spain.

Record signing Islam Slimani's groin injury will be assessed as Leicester start life without Claudio Ranieri. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Leicester (probable) - Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Gray; Vardy, Okazaki.

Liverpool (probable) - Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.

Leicester City v Liverpool,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 8.0

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