Former England captain Stuart Pearce has branded Jurgen Klopp selfish over a Liverpool decision he would “never, ever” make.
Klopp is one of the most universally respected and acclaimed managers in world football. He is revered on Merseyside for the work he has done both on and off the pitch. His high standing at Liverpool was evident last season during a historically bad run of six straight league defeats at Anfield. The poor run did little to convince fans and the club’s hierarchy alike that the German isn’t the right man for the club.
Nevertheless, ex-England defender and current talkSPORT pundit Pearce believes Klopp and Liverpool have got a recent decision horribly wrong.
Liverpool reportedly denied Mohamed Salah the opportunity to compete at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
The winger was reportedly intent on forcing Liverpool into a U-turn, though the club are under no obligation to release players for the tournament.
The decision has been panned by Pearce, who said he would not be “selfish” enough to do as Klopp has done if in the same position.
Pearce said on talkSPORT (via the Liverpool Echo): “Of course Jurgen Klopp doesn’t want Salah at the Olympics because he’s supposed to look after the interests of Liverpool Football Club.
“You want Mo Salah to stay. But if I was a manager of a club or a coach I would never, ever stop a player representing his country, whatever level that might be.
“If I was a manager at any club and a player came to me and said to me, ‘I want to represent my country’, I would not be selfish enough to turn around and say, ‘no’.
“All the international experiences I’ve had as a footballer, the biggest achievement of my football career is captaining my country.
“For me to then step into the world of management and have a total sea change, which managers do by the way, all of a sudden international managers ring me up and say ‘release this player, release that player’ then they become club managers and try to block their players.”
‘Olympics are bigger than the World Cup’ – Pearce
Pearce managed Great Britain’s Olympic football team at the 2012 games, and insisted people do not realise just how momentous the event is.
“It blows your mind how big the Olympics are,” continued Pearce.
“They are bigger than the World Cup. As a global event, the Olympics are bigger than the World Cup.
“The World Cup is just football, by the way, the Olympics is every sport. You don’t understand how big the Olympics are until you’re on the inside of it, the vastness of it, the kitting out of it.
“The lead up to it, clubs were telling me they didn’t want their players to play in it. People were telling me in the press that football shouldn’t be in the Olympics for Great Britain.
“We faced Uruguay in our second game and in the Uruguay front line is Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. We play against Brazil, who have Neymar. The holy grail for Brazil is to win an Olympic gold.
“It was the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in in management, definitely. It was just enormous.”