Jurgen Klopp and Des Kelly saved the best for last in terms of entertainment at the Amex Stadium this afternoon.
The Liverpool manager and BT Sport interviewer had a long and heated debate over broadcasters and TV timings post-match.
The Reds drew 1-1 with Brighton after the hosts grabbed a late equaliser from the penalty spot.
During the game, James Milner had to be withdrawn with a hamstring problem in yet another injury blow to Liverpool.
Klopp has made clear many times this season the players need more protection with the intense fixture schedule after such a unique year due to Covid-19.
And the German took aim at BT Sport once again after full time as Liverpool dealt with another swift turnaround.
The Wednesday evening to Saturday lunchtime turnaround is something Klopp and other managers such as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have fought against in the press.
But experienced journalist Kelly did not back down in his defence of his employers and all broadcasters.
He argued to Klopp that club executives and the Premier League have to take responsibility too over agreeing to the terms set out over fixture scheduling.
Klopp was already in a bad mood after watching goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah chalked off by VAR for offside, as well as Brighton being awarded two penalties during the game.
And Kelly hardly calmed him down after. Daily Star Sport has their full discussion below.
Klopp vs Kelly
Des Kelly: “Jurgen, that’s a painful setback. We’re talking about VAR again, was it just, was it right, was it correct?”
Jurgen Klopp: “I think the situation is, the two offsides I didn’t see back but our analysts said yes, they were really close. With Mo I think it was a foot but we are used to armpits and club badges so, if it’s a toe, then it’s obviously offside and the other one with Sadio was clear I heard. The penalty, that’s how it is. I think the decisions were right, yes.”
Kelly: “You think the decisions were right, well Jordan Henderson said some of the Brighton players agreed that it wasn’t a penalty…
Klopp: “Yes but the ref… Look, you try to create again, on my cost, again, a headline, you do. Because that’s how it is, if I say now it was not, but the ref whistled it. Don’t look like this, you try, always, all the time, but I say today it was a penalty. But you are not happy with that answer, so what do you want to hear? Give the answers to yourself…”
Kelly: “No, I was just telling you what your players said…”
Klopp: “Yes and the players were closer. I said it was a penalty because the ref whistled it after watching it.”
Kelly: “OK, so you agree with that decision then. In terms of the performance?”
Klopp: “Very good. Very good. I couldn’t be more proud of the boys and what they put out here today. You know what we said before the game, how good a possession team Brighton is usually, I couldn’t see that. The boys played like we had to play. The first half an hour we struggled a bit, a new last line, with their balls in behind because they didn’t drop in the right moment. We got that sorted in the first half, second half we had no problems with that any more but second half, of course, we had some problems with energy so we sat a little bit deeper. That’s how the situation happened but we had the situation around the goals we scored was brilliant. They were disallowed but the situations were brilliant. Mo’s goal was a brilliant goal, Sadio’s situation was outstanding, the goal we scored was really cool. But it’s just tough times, that’s how it is.”
Kelly: “You warned us about Connolly before the match, you said he could cause some problems. He was getting in behind through the lines…”
Klopp: “Only two opportunities to defend that, you have to avoid the pass or you have to drop in the right moments because he’s running through the gaps so it’s quite difficult. We spoke before the game, the last line is not settled together, but that’s normal. You have, sometimes, to learn during the game, the boys did that, that was really good. Nat Phillips played an exceptional game, honestly, so that was all good. You need, in football, always, a little bit of luck to win a tough away game and today we didn’t have luck so it was a draw.”
Kelly: “Jota keeps scoring. He’s slotted in so brilliantly…”
Klopp: “It was a good goal. I thought the front three played really, really well together. It worked out really good.”
Kelly: “Mo Salah didn’t look too happy to be coming off early, but I assume you’re planning ahead for that and what’s the information with James Milner?”
Klopp: “Yeah, the day when Mo Salah is smiling when he leaves the pitch something is really wrong, so I get it, 100%. The problem is he had COVID, was out for 10-12 days, trained once, played 60 minutes, three days later, played again. We just have to be careful, he doesn’t like it I know but that’s it.”
Kelly: “And James Milner? Hamstring is it?”
Klopp: “Oh yes. Congratulations.”
Kelly: “What, me personally?”
Klopp: “No, but you work for them. Hamstring, surprise. And they had injuries as well. Because a tough time, but ask Chris Wilder how we can avoid that.”
Kelly: “Well maybe you’re firing at the wrong target.”
Kelly: “Well maybe you’re firing at the wrong target because we are broadcasters, we work within the Premier League rules and the Premier League makes the rules, so that’s the Premier League clubs. So shouldn’t you be working with the Premier League clubs, talking to the Chief Executives?”
Klopp: “I don’t know how often have to say it. YOU picked the 12:30 kick-off, you. Not you personally but you did it, didn’t you. Us on 12:30. Between now and December and New Year, there’s one more Wednesday and Saturday 12:30.”
Kelly: “Yes but when you say ‘you picked the 12:30’, the Premier League clubs chose that slot. There’s a reason that slot is there, it’s because it’s valuable for the Premier League.”
Klopp: “And I’ve said it now a couple of times, these are difficult times.
Kelly: “Indeed, I know they’re difficult times, the stadium is empty, of course they’re difficult times and the broadcasters are supportive of the games.”
Klopp: “And we have to try. If we play at 3 o’clock or 5:30 it’s exactly the same, it’s Saturday.”
Kelly: “Then that has different chief executives. Your chief executive should be going to the other chief executives and having that discussion. If you come down here and just have a go at the broadcaster, it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s not going to change anything.”
Klopp: “I’m not having a go at the broadcaster, I just say how it is. 12:30, after Wednesday, Saturday 12:30 is really, really dangerous for the players.”
Kelly: “You also said the broadcasters don’t care and that’s the problem, it isn’t the problem. The problem is the slot…”
Klopp: “So why did you pick us then against Crystal Palace, if you care?”
Kelly: “But I didn’t pick it, every pick is agreed by the Premier League, every executive around that table.”
Klopp: “It’s such a special season, you obviously rely on things agreed at a different time.”
Kelly: “If it was all about player welfare, why did the Premier League clubs block the five substitutes?”
Klopp: “Oh that’s very interesting, now. Because we had the talk between the managers, it’s a week ago, I think, and it was 55, if not 60% for five subs. Since then it’s not happened, because you need at least 14 votes but Chris Wilder or whoever says constantly that I’m selfish. I think all the things he said show that he’s selfish, but that’s not too important. I was in a similar situation as he was when I worked at Mainz and it was all about staying in the league. But they now have three subs, and one point, if I’m right, so there’s no advantage or disadvantage. But if you can do five subs in a game like this, it’s not for tactical reasons. For example, today, five subs, I take off Robbo, 100%, and bring on Kostas to save Robbo, not to make our game better, just to save him, and that’s the situation. It’s not about change tactics, change the system, bring five players on in one and all this, it’s not like this. It’s just to save the players. Of course I say my players, but it’s not just my players have this problem. From now to December you will see it and more players will have these problems.”
Kelly: “No, I actually agree with what you’re saying, but you’re going about it in a strange way. You’re attacking the broadcasters instead of getting the support you need in the Premier League meetings.”
Klopp: “Now I’m 100% sure you can now rephrase what I said because you’ve now stuck on it, great. What I want to say is I only go for broadcasters with a Wednesday and a 12:30. Only seven managers have the same problem and they all agree, Now I should stop doing it, OK, actually I wanted to stop doing it because it doesn’t help. But the problem is we signed a contract, our CEOs, they signed a contract, whatever, and that’s not a problem. But in this season it’s a bigger problem because of no pre-season, because of the intensity, because of all that stuff, because of the shorter season. When we have that slot then I say it’s not OK. Again and again, look how many, again I’m not selfish but I speak about Liverpool. Until this season is over we had that slot three times, look who else had it three times, nobody. Of course it’s a problem for me, it’s a problem for me to pick a team.”