Apart from the trophies such as UCL and the PL that he picked up on the way, Klopp has also been much appreciated by Reds supporters and rivals and pundits for his man-management.
Having shown shades of this during his days as manager of Borussia Dortmund, the German has always had a strong relationship with his players, whether they be starters or squad players.
Liverpool supporters are extremely fond of the ‘Klopp hugs’ tradition, where the manager embraces almost every single player in Red after a game. He has also been spotted numerous times embracing players immediately after substituting them off the pitch as a way of keeping morale high even amongst players with limited minutes.
The latest edition of this latter tradition in the league came following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over local Merseyside rivals Everton, when the German coach was seen hugging Divock Origi who had come off the bench to score the second goal that sealed the win in stoppage time.
Origi has become a cult hero for Liverpool supporters and has now made it a habit to come off the bench and get on the scoresheet for his team. The latest episode of the Belgian’s heroics perhaps prompted Klopp to offer him a proper hug which would have meant a lot to the player.
But not all viewers of this special moment between a player and his coach seem to have enjoyed it as former Liverpool man and pundit Michael Owen criticized both individuals for the display on the pitch following the win.
“If I was a centre-forward and I came on so many times to save my manager, yet he never played me and he only brought me on occasion, then I wouldn’t be giving the manager such a big cuddle,” remarked Owen in this direct attack on the duo.
Having spent the largest chunk of his career at Liverpool during which he also won the Ballon d’Or, Owen perhaps felt close enough to the club to make this critique. But if he expected Liverpool fans to back him up on his comments, he has been left disappointed as numerous Kopites took to Twitter to call out Owen for his tone-deaf comments.
One supporter attacked Owen’s own relationship with clubs as a player and cited that, “Michael Owen- who showed zero loyalty to any clubs and had barely any connection with Liverpool fans when he was here. No wonder he doesn’t understand this between Origi and Klopp.”
Paul Tomkins wrote, “I Michael Owen talks sense at times. But not here. Thing is, Owen wouldn’t get into this Liverpool XI either. But he made strange career decisions, and seemed quite happy picking up medals at Man Utd when sat on the bench. Origi can be as happy as he wants to be, it’s his career.”
Another user added, “I am not even joking when I say Divock Origi is a bigger Liverpool Legend than Michael Owen”.
While another user noted, “Not judging the replies but it’s funny how football and sentiment works. Owen scored 118 goals for Liverpool in 8 years, Origi has scored 22 in that same time. But the fans love Origi more.”
Another took shot at Owen’s ambassador credentials, “The massive difference is Divock Origi will stay a Liverpool legend while people are pushing for Owen not to represent LFC as an ambassador. What I read below is jealousy. Divock made choices (being part of a group and winning medals with key moments) Owen wishes he made.”
With Klopp and co still in the hunt for a quadruple, Liverpool fans would be looking to prevent any such negative vibes from affecting their players as they expect the German coach to guide the team to success.