Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended the club’s supporters and called them ‘wonderful people’ after the controversial booing of the national anthem and Prince William before the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.
As has been the case during all of the Reds’ visits to Wembley since the stadium opened in 2007, Liverpool fans booed when the national anthem was played before kick-off at the showpiece event on Saturday afternoon, jeered when the Duke of Cambridge was introduced to the capacity crowd, and also audibly disrupted the Abide With Me hymn.
The Reds won the Cup by coming out on top in a penalty shootout against the Blues, mimicking their Carabao Cup final victory in February against the same opponents, leading to pandemonium in the Liverpool end of the stadium as a storm of pyrotechnics turned Wembley red.
Klopp and his players danced to hits including Dua Lipa’s One Kiss and You To Me Are Everything by The Real Thing before jubilant supporters, who still have the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris to look forward to in less than a fortnight’s time, as they toasted the second trophy success in a possible treble or even quadruple-winning season.
The fans’ antipathy towards the show of nationalism which traditionally takes place at the FA Cup finals caused ire in some corners of the press and among other football fanbases, but Klopp was full of praise for those who follow Liverpool in his press conference ahead of the trip to Southampton on Tuesday evening, and insists that booing would not take place if there were not good reason for it.
‘Of course I have thoughts [on the booing], but I think always in this sort of situation it is best to ask the question “Why did it happen”‘, Klopp explained.
‘I know our people so well that they would not do it if there is not a reason for it. I have not been here long enough for sure to understand the reason. That’s for sure something historical and that’s probably a question you can answer much better than I can.’
The German, who has been in charge of the Anfield club since 2015, reemphasised his belief in the positive power of the Reds’ fans by calling them ‘wonderful people’ who are ‘really smart.’
‘I know some from other clubs see it slightly different, but the majority of our fans are wonderful people, really smart,’ Klopp added. They understand, they go through lows and highs, suffer together. They wouldn’t do it if there was not a reason, that’s what I know. It was not something I enjoyed or whatever, but that’s the answer.’
Liverpool have now won both domestic cups this season, have the chance to secure a seventh European Cup in Paris, and could potentially still win the Premier League if Manchester City slip up against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on the final day of the season this Sunday.
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