Sports

Klopp slams Leeds ‘earn it’ shirts: ‘A real joke!’

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called out Leeds for placing a Champions League T-shirt bearing the message “earn it” inside the Reds’ dressing room ahead of the two clubs’ Premier League clash on Monday.

For their pregame warm-ups, Leeds players took the pitch at Elland Road wearing the shirts which also displayed the message “Football is for the fans” on the back.

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Liverpool confirmed on Sunday they were one of six Premier League clubs to become part of a breakaway Super League. And despite the league’s plans to have 15 permanent members benefit from the potentially lucrative 20-team enterprise, Klopp said his team did not need to be reminded how Champions League qualification still works.

“I saw there are warm-up shirts which we will not wear. We cannot but if someone thinks they have to remind us that we have to earn it to play in the Champions League it’s a joke. A real joke!,” Klopp said.

“And they put [the shirt] in our dressing room. If it was a Leeds idea thank you very much. Nobody has to remind us. Maybe they should remind themselves.”

The German, who has spoken out in the past against a European Super League, told Sky Sports television that his opinion had not changed since 2019 when he said he hoped it never happened.

“I heard first hand about it yesterday,” Klopp said. “We got some information, not a lot to be honest. Most of the things you can read in newspapers or wherever.

“It’s a tough one. People are not happy with that, I can understand that. But I cannot say a lot more about it because we were not involved in any processes, not the players, not me. We didn’t know about it.”

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Alessandro Del Piero reacts to reports detailing momentum toward the creation of a European Super League.

While no fans are allowed into Elland Road, a large banner draped across the seats read: “Earn It On The Pitch. Football Is For The Fans.”

Some fans gathered outside Elland Road to voice their anger, with one banner reading: “RIP LFC. Thanks for the Memories.”

The game itself is crucial for Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

They are in sixth place and a victory would see them leapfrog into fourth spot, above Chelsea and West Ham United.

Earlier in the day Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly (SOS) said it was taking down all of its banners which have adorned Anfield during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We, along with other groups involved in flags, will be removing our flags from The Kop,” an SOS statement said.

“We feel we can no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above integrity of the game.”

American-owned Liverpool are joined by Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur as founders of the Super League, along with AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Supporters’ clubs of all six Premier League clubs have come out in opposition to the Super League which would be a direct rival to UEFA’s Champions League — the competition Liverpool won for the sixth time in 2019.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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