Football: Klopp's perplexing salute

Juergen Klopp led his players in repeated bowing after salvaging a late 2-2 draw against West Brom on Sunday. He said it was to acknowledge the "special atmosphere" at Anfield.
Juergen Klopp led his players in repeated bowing after salvaging a late 2-2 draw against West Brom on Sunday. He said it was to acknowledge the "special atmosphere" at Anfield. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds boss leads an over-the-top celebration after stoppage-time draw against West Brom

LONDON • Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has probably not celebrated too many draws with quite the fervour that he greeted Divock Origi's stoppage-time leveller to grab a point at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

The German would have been forgiven for lamenting another costly result and two more dropped points. But he instead greeted the conclusion to a bad-tempered 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield with trademark enthusiasm.

Having appeared to avoid a handshake with West Brom boss Tony Pulis, Klopp led his team in a celebration akin to a title win as they saluted the noise that greeted their efforts in the closing stages.

Some older fans at Anfield, who were fed a diet of success in the 1970s and 80s, might have raised eyebrows at the apparently joyous scenes. Rival fans certainly did not pass up the opportunity to mock Liverpool on social media.

IT WAS JUST APPRECIATION

It was the best atmosphere since I came here. Of course, people are disappointed, but they didn't let us feel that. They saw that the lads tried everything and played football.

JUERGEN KLOPP on why he led his players on an extended celebration with the Anfield fans

"Plenty of others, meanwhile, will pour scorn on Klopp for lining Liverpool's players up in front of the Kop at the final whistle and making them bow repeatedly," wrote Dominic King of The Daily Mail. "This, remember, was a draw that moved Liverpool up to ninth place, not a seismic victory en route to a trophy."

Klopp, however, said that he and the players were merely recognising the "special atmosphere" inside Anfield.

"It was the best atmosphere since I came here," he told Sky Sports. "Of course, people are disappointed, but they didn't let us feel that. They saw that the lads tried everything and played football."

Liverpool took the lead when a well-worked move ended with captain Jordan Henderson, making his first league start since August, ghosting into the area to sweep home in the 21st minute.

The Reds' positive start was undone, however, when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet misjudged a corner to hand an equaliser to Albion's Craig Dawson on the half-hour.

When Jonas Olsson, who earlier had a goal disallowed, put Albion in front after 73 minutes, Liverpool looked to be staring at a second straight league loss.

Then Origi tried his luck with a speculative effort that was deflected into the net.

Klopp avoided Pulis at full-time, but said it had nothing to do with Craig Gardner's tackle on Dejan Lovren that forced the Liverpool defender off the pitch with a badly-gashed knee.

"We had some words in the game and sometimes it takes more than a few seconds to cool down," Klopp said. "Usually I shake hands. It was not a friendly game."

Lovren, who was carried off on a stretcher with his leg in a brace, will have a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

Pulis insisted that there had been two worse challenges by Liverpool players during the game.

"If you are going into challenges, the two worst challenges in the game are James Milner's on Gardner and Martin Skrtel's on (Jose) Salomon Rondon. I have just watched the tape back of those two," he said.

"Skrtel has gone right over the ball, luckily Salomon moved out of the way. So you have a look at them before you start talking about our players. Gardner has actually played the ball."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'KLOPP'S PERPLEXING SALUTE'. Print Edition | Subscribe