Fans on song, but Klopp prefers to stay focused

Roberto Firmino celebrating after scoring his first goal in the Reds' 4-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp said: "Please don't sing my name before the game is decided."
Roberto Firmino celebrating after scoring his first goal in the Reds' 4-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp said: "Please don't sing my name before the game is decided."PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has implored fans to stop singing his name during matches to help his side stay focused and avoid complacency.

A vibrant Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners over champions Leicester City at a newly renovated Anfield on Saturday, with the home supporters serenading their manager during the second half.

The German appreciated the sentiment but called on fans to hold off until the final whistle in the future, reminding them that games can turn if players lose concentration.

After Liverpool took a 4-1 lead in their Premier League opener against Arsenal, the travelling supporters serenaded Klopp, only for the hosts to claw back to 4-3.

"When I speak about this, I have to say (to the fans)... please don't sing my name before the game is decided," Klopp said on Saturday.

"Immediately when the Kop started singing, 'Jurgen Klopp', (Leicester) were alone in front of (Liverpool goalkeeper) Simon Mignolet.

"It's a bit like celebrating a penalty before you've scored. I don't play, but if they like me, it's nice, I like them all, but please don't sing my name before the game is decided.

"It was the same at Arsenal. It's something that depends on each other, it's nice but not necessary. It would be really nice if they could stop this."

"We need to have atmospheres like this, not only when it's the champions and we score four goals," Klopp added after his side moved to fifth in the Premier League standings on seven points. "What we have to do in the season (is) to create our own atmosphere for us and nobody else."

Goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane put Liverpool 2-0 ahead, only for dreadful play by emergency centre-half Lucas to hand Jamie Vardy a goal for the visitors.

Robert Huth might have equalised but headed against the crossbar and, after the interval, Adam Lallana made it 3-1 before a late slip by Kasper Schmeichel presented Firmino with his second, and Liverpool's fourth goal.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Fans on song, but Klopp prefers to stay focused'. Print Edition | Subscribe