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Inside The Mutual Respect Between Bruno Fernandes and Jurgen Klopp

Inside The Mutual Respect Between Bruno Fernandes and Jurgen Klopp

Bruno Fernandes got one over Jurgen Klopp by leading his Manchester United to a memorable 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup. These two men have been rivals over the last four years because of the hatred shared between these clubs. But, even at the risk of potential backlash, Fernandes and Klopp always seem to have mutual respect for each other.

Now, for those unknowing, the majority of Manchester United and Liverpool fans detest each other’s clubs. For some, pointing out positive things about the rival club is held like blasphemy.

But for the players and managers, the hatred isn’t exactly as deep-rooted. In professional football, mutual respect holds an important value. Unless one is able to respect their opponents, they’re unlikely to receive the ‘professional’ tag.

Klopp and Fernandes might both be temperamental and emotional during matches, but off the pitch, they’re classy people who see the value of the qualities in each other.

What Did Bruno Fernandes Say About Jurgen Klopp?

Days after the FA Cup triumph over Liverpool, the Manchester United captain gave a revealing interview that might’ve irked some hardcore fanatics. At first, he downright termed Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as ‘the best manager in the world’. Not that there can be any debating that after he led the Cityzens to a European Treble last year.

But Bruno really stretched the patience of United fans with what he said about Klopp. He lavished rare praise for the departing Liverpool manager in an interview with A Bola, remarking: “We are talking about a coach who is one of the ones I most appreciate, for the intensity he brings to games and the passion he has for football.

“I think what he did now is yet another demonstration of how much he loves football. He feels that, if he is not at his best, he is not giving his best to the game. And I think a little like that too, in the same way as him, probably.

“He is a coach who changed the dynamics of Liverpool, who brought hope to the club. If we look at it, Klopp is the coach who has probably won the fewest titles and, even so, achieved the most in terms of the passion of the world of football, the passion of the fans, the transformation he brought to a club.

“He won big titles, he won the Premier League, the Champions League, and some cups, but the biggest prize he will take away from these years will be the flame, the passion and the new dynamics he brought and which made Liverpool once again believe in being [a] champion, in being able to fight for titles, in being among the best. That’s something that no one will ever take away from Klopp. We are talking about another coach who really influences my passion for football.”

Fernandes has even sympathized with Klopp during his tough times after he arrived at United in 2020.In the 2020/21 season, when Liverpool went on a slump of a five-match winless run from the Christmas to early January period – Bruno insisted that bad runs happen to every team. He explained: “Teams have moments, I think. I don’t think Liverpool are playing poorly. I think they don’t win and this is the point. When teams don’t win, everyone talks about that. When players don’t score, everyone talks about that.”l

There have been fiery moments between the two, of course. When Klopp accused United of getting too many penalties in the 20/21 season, Fernandes shoved that away by claiming that ‘People can talk and say what they want’. However, he’s mostly been very respectful of Klopp as a manager and as a person – with this being quite reciprocal from the other side too.

How Jurgen Klopp Has Praised Bruno Fernandes

This Klopp-Fernandes respectful gesture has not at all been a one-sided affair. In fact, Klopp recognized the quality of the Portuguese midfielder way back in 2019 – before he joined the Red Devils. Bruno was then playing for Sporting CP, scoring and assisting in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly.

Immediately afterwards, the German manager praised his quality and tipped him for big things at a club like United – who started being linked to him at that point. In July 2019, Klopp observed: “He’s obviously a really good player. [United] have already a few really good players, so that will probably make them stronger. It’s not nice, but it (United’s transfer business) is not our cup of tea, to be honest.”

Fast-forward a year-and-a-half and again in January 2021, Klopp became reminiscent of how he discovered Fernandes’ quality in that pre-season friendly. Just before Liverpool’s game against Manchester United in the Premier League (which would result in a 0-0 draw), he declared: “He’s an outstanding player. Before he joined United we played Sporting in the USA on tour. In that game already you could see… wow! You could really see he was a difference maker and that’s what he shows now.

He’s settled and is a very influential player now for United. He’s involved in a lot of things. I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements, which is very important stuff, but he’s a link-up in lot of other situations as well. I don’t know him well enough to really judge but he seems to be a leader as well. So he was a good signing, unfortunately, for United.”

Fernandes has only scored twice in six matches against Klopp’s Liverpool. One of them was the winning goal in the FA Cup fourth-round clash in 2021. However, the two ‘reunited’ with each other to share an emotional exchange after United’s first win under Erik ten Hag in the Premier League in 2022 against Liverpool.

After that hard-fought 2-1 win, Klopp was seen having an animated conversation with Bruno and also giving him an embrace before parting ways. The German gaffer later dismissed this as ‘the most harmless conversation I’ve ever had’.

Fernandes and Klopp might be rivals due to the identity of their teams, but going by the glowing comments they’ve made about each other, it’s clear that would love to work with each other if that was at all possible.