Premier League • England

Jeff Stelling apologies to Jurgen Klopp as claims about Liverpool struggles are derided by Paul Merson and other Soccer Saturday guests

Jeff Stelling on Soccer Saturday - pic courtesy of Sky Sports

Jeff Stelling’s suggestion over Jurgen Klopp and his antics in the media amid Liverpool’s slump this season has been ridiculed by Paul Merson and other panelists on Soccer Saturday.

The Reds have been in hugely-indifferent form this season. After overcoming an opening Champions League loss to Napoli, handsome wins over Rangers and Ajax have illustrated why it is too soon to write them off. Yet embarrassing and successive losses in the Premier League to Nottingham Forest and Leeds have turned the heat firmly up for Klopp.

Indeed, with the team down in ninth place, they are only sat four points above the relegation zone ahead of their match at Tottenham on Sunday.

Another Premier League loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be their fifth already this season. As such, it’s not unexpected to see the Klopp sack debate heighten amid claims there is a new favourite for the Liverpool job.

Jamie Carragher, though, is having none of that and has revealed where he expects Liverpool to finish this season.

Regardless of opinions, Klopp knows the only way to silence those doubters is with results on the pitch.

And despite their struggles so far, Klopp took time out of his busy schedule to put on a coaching masterclass for Sky Sports this week.

Stelling, however, put it to the panel on Soccer Saturday that Klopp’s time would have been better spent preparing Liverpool for a tough trip to Tottenham.

And he suggests Klopp is too media friendly when he should keep a more low profile when the chips are down.

“Jurgen Klopp’s very generous with his time for the media,” Stelling said on Soccer Saturday. “They are down in ninth place in the table, they’ve just lost against Leeds. Should he be spending so much time with the media?”

Stelling’s Jurgen Klopp suggestion draws criticism

However, those words were very quickly slammed by Paul Merson and other Soccer Saturday guests. Sat on the panel alongside the Arsenal great, were Clinton Morrison, Michael Dawson and Kris Boyd.

And, after deriding the host, Merson questioned: “What do you want him to do, sit in his front room moaning?”

A determined Stelling, though, fired back by reminding Merson of Liverpool’s place in the table. And the Hartlepool fan is adamant that supporters should not be seeing so much of Klopp on the TV.

“He’s Liverpool’s coach isn’t he? He’s had a game on Saturday, a game in midweek as well, he’s got media commitments galore on Friday which he will do.

“I just wonder if Liverpool fans feel that they should be seeing a little less of him?”

Boyd responded by saying: “No, I don’t think that is the case. Managers will do their work.”

Sky Sports presenter issues apology to Klopp

Clearly someone behind the camera at Sky Sports went on to have a word in Stelling’s ear about his comments.

And later in the show, Stelling apologised to Klopp over his previous suggestions.

“Now, earlier in the programme, I asked a question about Liverpool. I asked if Jurgen Klopp was maybe doing too much media,” Stelling recalled.

“I have to say I stand corrected because the video we showed at the time – and I didn’t know this – was recorded on September 27, during the international break.

“Jurgen had no commitments at all at that stage. Jurgen, look, I did not mean to offend. I absolutely apologise. What do I know? Obviously, not very much!

“My apologies if it offended Jurgen Klopp or, indeed, anybody at Liverpool. All the boys backed Jurgen anyway, and all said I was an idiot – they’re obviously right!”

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