I think we'll see you more often now! – Klopp jokes with Japanese journalist amid Minamino talk

By Sports Desk December 13, 2019

Jurgen Klopp engaged in a comical exchange with a Japanese journalist at Friday's news conference, hinting at Takumi Minamino's imminent arrival at Liverpool.

Salzburg star Minamino has been one of the Austrian club's star players over the past year, impressing in the Europa League last season and in the Champions League this term.

Liverpool had been able to take a particularly close look at the Japan international when the two clubs played one another twice in the Champions League group stage, with Minamino again catching the eye against the Reds in their 2-0 win on Tuesday.

Since then, media speculation has claimed Liverpool have already secured a deal to sign the attacking midfielder in January.

Klopp, who was speaking following confirmation of his new four-and-a-half-year contract, would not be drawn on the rumours but took a mischievous tone when a Japanese journalist raised his hand for a question.

"Why are you here?" Klopp quipped, adding: "I think we'll see you more often now."

But instead of asking Klopp about Minamino, the reporter actually queried the German on Shinji Kagawa, the Japanese player he worked with at Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp replied: "Look, he doesn't speak about Minamino, he speaks about Shinji Kagawa!

"I love that, that's great, and smart. I loved working with Shinji, a great experience because I didn't have much of an idea about Japanese football before I met Shinji. We saw him on video and signed him from watching him on video.

"We were not sure about him, but after first time training, in the dressing room, all of the coaches were just hugging each other, [saying], 'Oh my God, we've got a super player'.

"I had two years with Shinji, and you know better than I do, but the attitude of Japanese players is outstanding, smart, technically really good usually, work-rate outstanding, really dynamic and nice people.

"I still try to follow his career – it was just a great experience."

Earlier, Klopp batted away a question relating to the apparently imminent arrival of Minamino, though he did acknowledge rating the 24-year-old highly.

"There's nothing else to say," Klopp remarked. "We speak about it in the moment like we do about all transfers – or potential transfers – when it's sorted, so [I have] nothing to say about it.

"He's a very good player, I can say that, but I saw many good players in the Salzburg team, more than I wanted to see, but that's it."

Related items

  • Beckham's fantastic 50: When Manchester United hero set Premier League record but Scholes upstaged him Beckham's fantastic 50: When Manchester United hero set Premier League record but Scholes upstaged him

    David Beckham scooped a Premier League record when Manchester United made April fools of West Ham 20 years ago this week - but he was still overshadowed by 'Class of 92' colleague Paul Scholes.

    Beckham set up two goals in a 7-1 savaging to become the youngest player to achieve 50 Premier League assists, and he scored a stunning free-kick too, but Scholes' hat-trick grabbed the headlines.

    Substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got in on the act by finishing off the scoring in a resounding win for Alex Ferguson's champions-elect over Harry Redknapp's hangdog Hammers.

    United's match on April 1, 2000, stood out on a number of counts, not least for the fact Paulo Wanchope gave West Ham an early lead. The Costa Rican's strike was not quite in the same league as his solo effort for Derby at Old Trafford three years earlier, with United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich caught out this time.

    A super Scholes strike and a Denis Irwin tap-in, after the defender's penalty was saved, nudged United in front, before Beckham brought up his 49th assist with an on-brand cross from the right that was perfect for Andy Cole to head home.

    Beckham played a thrilling role in the United onslaught, and his 50th career helping hand in the top flight was a fine low pass that was trumped by Scholes' delicious backheel.

    The 50-assist landmark, confirmed by Opta statisics, was achieved by Beckham at the age of 24 years and 335 days, and it earned him the record until Cesc Fabregas got to 50 for Arsenal in September 2009 when just 22 years old.

    Scholes lashed home a penalty to complete his hat-trick, before Beckham produced a personal speciality when he curled in a 25-yard free-kick.

    Solskjaer, the man who now manages the Red Devils, came on to drill the seventh past Craig Forrest, on a rough day for West Ham.

    Beckham went on to reach 80 assists in the English top flight before leaving for Real Madrid in 2003, and he sits ninth on the Premier League all-time list.

     

  • Coronavirus: It sticks in the throat - MPs point finger at footballers over salaries Coronavirus: It sticks in the throat - MPs point finger at footballers over salaries

    Premier League footballers have been accused of living in a "moral vacuum" and urged to reduce their huge salaries by two prominent politicians amid the coronavirus crisis.

    Tottenham, Newcastle United and Norwich City are among the clubs to have used the UK Government's furlough scheme for non-playing staff.

    That job retention initiative enables employees to be paid 80 per cent of their wages - up to a maximum of £2,500 per month - by the Government while on temporary leave.

    Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, says the scheme was not brought in to assist top-flight clubs while players remain on massive wages.

    "It sticks in the throat," said Knight. "This exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre."

    He added: "This isn't what it was designed for. It's not designed to effectively allow them to continue to pay people hundreds of thousands of pounds, while at the same time furloughing staff on hundreds of pounds.

    "I don't know whether or not the Treasury can legally turn down these applications.

    "But at the same time I think football needs to have a good, long, hard look at itself and see whether or not morally this is really right, and whether or not actually what they need to do is come to an arrangement with some of their stars so they can continue to pay their [non-playing] staff 100 per cent of their wages rather than furloughing them on 80 per cent."

    Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, echoed those sentiments.

    He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "My view is always that those who are the least well-off should get the most help.

    "Highly paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first ones to, with respect, sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering or the person who probably doesn't get anywhere near the salary some of the Premier League footballers get.

    "It should be those with the broadest shoulders who go first because they can carry the greatest burden and have probably got savings, rather than those who work in catering or hospitality who have probably got no savings and live week by week and who probably won't get the [furlough] benefits for five weeks."

  • Coronavirus: Bournemouth boss Howe takes 'significant' pay cut, staff on furlough Coronavirus: Bournemouth boss Howe takes 'significant' pay cut, staff on furlough

    Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has taken a "significant" pay cut as the Premier League club guard against financial trouble during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Cherries manager Howe has been joined by assistant Jason Tindall, technical director Richard Hughes and chief executive Neill Blake in accepting a reduced salary.

    The pay cuts for the senior quartet were taken voluntarily, Bournemouth said.

    The club announced a number of staff have been placed on furlough - the UK Government scheme that will pay employees 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 per month.

    Bournemouth said they would top up salaries to ensure those furloughed receive their usual full pay.

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, Bournemouth announced: "These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world."

    Those on furlough come from roles that "have been affected by the closure of Vitality Stadium and the club's other sites", Bournemouth said, explaining they would be on leave from the club for a minimum of three weeks.

    The club said: "We are also offering training schemes to allow furloughed staff to continue their development while on leave, and we look forward to welcoming these employees back to their roles as soon it is possible for the club to fully function again.

    "In this time of great uncertainty, our thoughts are with those who are affected by this virus and those who are caring for them."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.