Klopp acknowledges Liverpool fans’ protests but wants focus during game

Estimated read time 4 min read

Jürgen Klopp has said nothing should come between Liverpool fans and his team before protests against the club’s decision to raise ticket prices by 2% next season.

There will be no flags on the Kop for Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Atalanta after Spion Kop 1906, the supporters’ group that organises the displays at Anfield, voiced its disapproval of an increase in season ticket prices and members’ match-day tickets for 2024-25.

Spion Kop and Spirit of Shankly, the supporters’ union, have accused Liverpool of a lack of consultation over a rise that comes amid a cost of living crisis and record commercial revenues at the club. Both groups have representatives on the Liverpool Supporters’ Board, which is supposed to have a legally binding role in the club’s decision-making processes.

Liverpool claim the price rise is a response to increased operating costs and works out at less than £1 per game, with junior ticket costs frozen for next season. The row is an unwanted distraction for Klopp before what potentially could be his final European game at Anfield as Liverpool manager and left him in the awkward position of having to explain club policy.

“That the flags are not there [is not a concern], as long as the people are there it is all good,” said Klopp, who could have Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota and Alisson available. “But I understand the concerns and the discussions definitely. It is a tricky one from my point of view. The opinion is clear – we want to have the people in the stadium and make it available for everybody.

“We are a self-sustaining club, as long as I’ve been here, and I can tell everyone that every pound we earn went directly back into football. It is not wasted for something. There are a lot of good things that the club is doing, like work for the community, but I understand 100% where the supporters are coming from. I am pretty sure they will find a solution in these situations.

Trent Alexander-Arnold in training before Liverpool host AtalantaView image in fullscreen

“It starts with maybe a protest and then there follows discussions and that is good. What we should make sure of is that nothing gets between us and the supporters. Talk about it 100% but nothing should happen between the two big whistles. We just have to be Liverpool and that is what I am asking for. It would be worse if the flags were in the stand and no one else. That was once the case, we have had that [when fans walked out of Anfield in protest at a planned ticket hike in 2016] and we don’t want that again. This way is OK. They will find a solution, I am sure.”

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Klopp pinpointed “the relationship between the team and the crowd” as the main reason Liverpool are unbeaten in 25 matches in all competitions at Anfield this season. Explaining the absence of flags against Atalanta, Spion Kop 1906 said: “We are disappointed in the football club’s decision towards ticket prices for 24-25. In response, there will be no flags on The Kop for Thursday night’s game. Unlike the club’s own approach, this has been agreed in consultation with other fan groups.

“We will pay our respects to the 97 with Hillsborough flags only at this weekend’s league match [against Crystal Palace], as always with it being the closest game to the 15th of April. There is still a chance for the club to hold some positive dialogue with the Supporters Board in time for Saturday’s meeting. Until then the supporters have one message: NO TO TICKET PRICE INCREASES.”

Source: theguardian.com

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