Liverpool football club manager Jürgen Klopp has criticised Jeremy Corbyn for putting his aspirations to be prime minister before what is best for the UK with Brexit.
In a comprehensive interview with Channel 4 News ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final he was asked for his views on the state of politics in the UK.
As a People’s Vote advocate, and an outspoken anti-Brexit voice in the football world, what did he think of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn?
He replied: “I’m not sure, I don’t know exactly what Mr Corbyn wants to do – want to be prime minister or does he want to do the best for the country? I don’t know it 100%. But it’s just not the best moment in the world.”
On the European election results, which saw Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party top the polls in England, he said it was “pretty surprising” and “disappointing.”
“The European election was obviously not only pretty surprising and maybe disappointing for a lot of people in England. It’s a strange moment, I’m not 100% sure where it comes from. The generation I’m part of, we always enjoyed the situation we are in, like after a generation influenced by a disgusting world war, our parents, if you want, so they always gave us a feeling: “you live in the best time.”
He continued: “We are the generation who didn’t face a war. So that gives you an opportunity to build constantly on the things you achieved in the past, because a war destroys everything and you start anew. So in this moment people misunderstand that opportunity.”
He said he loved the United Kingdom for its close ties with Europe, but feared politicians here were repeating mistakes of the past.
“The things I love in my 50 years was that we came always closer and closer and closer. When I was 18 and came to England and met all these wonderful people here and felt at that time already in love with the country and wanted to live and work for a couple of years in England when I’m “older” so I achieved that – come here, meet so many wonderful people in a moment when the signs we get from other people is first and foremost, we have to make sure that we are doing well, with we I mean we, with water around, with a border around, with whatever, and what the others do, they should sort [sic]. That makes no sense in this, for me, I only talk about my personal opinion.”
He explained that those that have a positive view on things – like the UK’s ties with Europe – were being ignored for those who were more fearful.
“And in these things, in a moment, a lot of politicians do again what other politicians did in the past as well. They always work with making people afraid of the future: ‘if you don’t react now, this and this and this will happen in the future.’ And the other people with a bit more positive view on the future, nobody listens to them, they are not there, I don’t know exactly, or go again, maybe like in England, as well only for their own things.”
But he refuted a suggesiton from presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy that he should go into politics.
“Nobody has told it to me and I will never. I will never. Because I have too much common sense that I could survive in that business.”
Klopp’s leadership of Liverpool was praised in the House of Commons when the club made it into the Champions League final, with both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn scrambling to use analogies in their questions.
Corbyn said that May “could take some tips from Jürgen Klopp on how to get a good result in Europe.”
May responded that Liverpool’s win showed “when everyone says it’s all over, that your European opposition have got you beat, the clock’s ticking down, it’s time to concede defeat, actually we can still secure success if everyone comes together.”
Both ignored that Klopp was a Remainer who backs a People’s Vote and represents a club from a Remain city.