Not only is Jurgen Klopp a superb tactician and an excellent manager, but he is also one of football’s most intriguing personalities. His teams’ exciting displays on the pitch are always backed up by his own animated displays on the touchline. And he’s always good for a pithy one-liner during his post-match interviews as well!
Let’s relive Jurgen Klopp’s finest moments in front of the mic by delving into this list of 10 of the funniest quotes he has delivered over the years.
#1 On comparisons with Jose Mourinho
It didn’t take Jurgen Klopp long to endear himself with the British press, delivering this memorable and self-effacing line in his very first press conference as Liverpool manager. Responding to a journalist’s question on how he might describe himself, referencing Jose Mourinho’s now-infamous self-proclaimed title of ‘The Special One’, Klopp replied:
"I am 'The Normal One'. I am a normal guy from the Black Forest. I was a very average player. I don't compare myself with these genius managers from the past."
This simple off-the-cuff remark instantly won him fans up and down the country. Incidentally, Jose isn’t the only manager Klopp has been asked to compare himself with. Speaking on the crucial difference between himself and then-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Klopp compared Wenger’s preferred style of football to an orchestra while comparing his own to heavy metal.
#2 On his time as a player
The sight of ex-players now taking up positions in the dugout as managers is an increasingly common one. However, success achieved as a player doesn’t necessarily appear to translate to managerial success and Jurgen Klopp is a shining example of the same, as he delivered this less-than-complimentary assessment of his playing days:
"I never succeeded in bringing to the field what was going on in my brain. I had the talent for the fifth division, and the mind for the Bundesliga. The result was a career in the second division."
#3 On competing with Bayern Munich
During his time at the helm of Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp regularly locked horns with the behemoth that is Bayern Munich. Despite masterminding Dortmund to several trophies (including back-to-back Bundesliga titles between 2010 and 2012), Klopp and Die Schwarzgelben revelled in their status as underdogs in this legendary rivalry. Their equation was succinctly summed up by Klopp with this powerful analogy:
“We have a bow and arrow and if we aim well, we can hit the target. The problem is that Bayern has a bazooka. The probability that they will hit the target is clearly higher. But then Robin Hood was apparently quite successful.”
#4 On finally beating Bayern at the Allianz Arena
Apart from the trophies Jurgen Klopp and Dortmund won together, one of Klopp’s most memorable achievements during his tenure was leading his side to their first win away against Bayern in almost two decades. Naturally, Klopp marked the 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena in February 2011 with a trademark quote:
"When Dortmund last won here 19 years ago, most of my players were still being breast-fed."
#5 Losing Mario Götze to Bayern Munich
Besides delivering humorous one-liners, Jurgen Klopp is also equally capable of wielding biting sarcasm. He displayed the same in April 2013 when news broke of Dortmund playmaker Mario Götze’s impending move to rivals Bayern Munich.
"He's leaving because he's Guardiola's favourite. If it's anyone's fault, it's mine. I can't make myself shorter and learn Spanish."
Although there has been a long history of players swapping Dortmund for Bayern, this move was announced barely 36 hours before Dortmund's Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid. This certainly annoyed the German gaffer, who let it out with his sarcastic remark.
Incidentally, Götze completed a move back to Dortmund after three seasons at Bayern and is still on the books alongside Mats Hummels, another player who made a similar switch.
#6 On Mats Hummels being linked with a move away
No manager is particularly fond of discussing media speculation, especially when it concerns one of their own players being linked with a move away. In July 2014, when central defender Mats Hummels was being linked with a move to Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp revealed himself to be in the same camp, responding to the rumour in trademark colourful fashion:
"If that's not a bull**** story, I'll eat a broomstick!"
#7 On Hummels again, talking about his injury woes
One of the qualities that set Jurgen Klopp apart from most managers is the connection he forges with his players, a sentiment echoed by pretty much everyone that has worked with him. He displayed a fierce loyalty to all his players from the start of his coaching career, which he encapsulated in one emotionally-charged yet amusing line lamenting Mats Hummels' multiple injury woes:
"We will wait for him like a good wife waiting for her husband who is in jail."
Despite his fitness issues, Hummels served Jurgen Klopp extremely well during his time at Dortmund, forming a formidable partnership with Neven Subotic at the heart of the Dortmund defence. This centre-back pairing was instrumental in their title wins in 2011 and 2012, and highlighted the positive impact that the manager's backing can have on a player's performance.
#8 On breaking his glasses (again)
Always energetic and animated on the touchline, Jurgen Klopp is certainly not averse to joining in with his team’s celebrations and has revealed that his enthusiasm sometimes comes at personal cost to him. In January of 2016, Klopp’s Reds had a tough tie away at Norwich City and found themselves 3-1 down before bouncing back in remarkable fashion to lead 4-3. The fun didn’t stop there - Sebastian Bassong’s strike seemed to have given the hosts a share of the spoils.
However, Adam Lallana’s 95th-minute volley added the final twist to a riveting tale and prompted the manager to sprint onto the pitch where he was mobbed by his teammates. After footage emerged of Klopp breaking his glasses in the melee, he revealed (in typically humorous fashion) that this was not the first time this had happened.
"One [pair] is in the museum of Borussia Dortmund because we won for the first time against Bayern Munich and Nuri Sahin broke my first glasses. Today it was Adam, it's broken. Usually I have a second [pair] but until now I couldn't find it because it's really difficult to look for glasses without glasses!"
#9 On the number of current-day stars to have come through the academy at Genk
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Liverpool’s UCL clash against Belgian side Genk in May 2019, Klopp was reminded by a journalist of the big-name players Genk’s academy had produced in recent times. While the journalist listed out names such as Kevin De Bruyne, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Wilfred Ndidi, Klopp endeared himself with the Liverpool faithful with this quick interjection:
“Divock Origi. Don't forget that. Liverpool legend, by the way. Pretty famous here.”
Origi has emerged as something of a cult hero at Anfield, popping up with a number of crucial goals for Liverpool in the recent past. He's scored a late winner in the Merseyside derby and a brace in Liverpool’s historic Champions League semi-final second leg comeback win against Barcelona. Let's also not forget the crucial second goal in the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur last year.
#10 On the secret to winning a title
Besides the high-profile Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich, the fixture that Dortmund players and fans look forward to the most when the calendar is announced is the Revierderby against local rivals Schalke. Although Schalke have had the upper hand in this fixture over the years, Dortmund have more recent successes to flaunt. And so, when a Schalke fan asked Jurgen Klopp what the secret to winning a title was, the wily manager took full advantage of his position and delivered this brutal putdown:
“How do you explain to a blind person what colour is?”
Short, simple, yet devastating - a trademark Klopp zinger worthy of finishing off this list. Football would truly be worse off without him!