Jurgen Klopp has given his backing to John W Henry after the Liverpool owner angered supporters over his intent to join the European Super League.
The Reds were one of six Premier League clubs who initially pledged to form a breakaway competition to rival the Champions League last week.
But after a huge backlash to the controversial plans, all six teams withdrew from the competition just 48 hours later.
The fallout of the failed breakaway has been huge, with Liverpool supporters among the groups of fans demanding owners to sell up and leave their beloved clubs over their ‘betrayal’.
Fan protests surrounded the build-up to their midweek draw with Leeds United, with anti-Fenway Sports Group banners remaining tied outside Anfield for days after the initial Super League news broke.
But Klopp, who has always been against the idea of a European Super League being introduced, has backed Henry and the Liverpool hierarchy, insisting they are ‘not bad people’ and their relationship will not be affected by the drama.
“Our owners are not perfect, like I’m not perfect, but they’re not bad people,” Klopp said on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime clash against Newcastle in the Premier League – LIVE on talkSPORT.
“They have learned their lesson, I’m sure. My only hope is that our relationship with fans will be stronger after all this.
“There was no personal apology from John W Henry, but that was not necessary in my opinion because I was mentioned in the apology, and the team as well, so that was personal enough for me.”
The Reds manager continued: “I’ve known the owners for six years, I know there are moments they didn’t make the right decisions, this one for sure, but it doesn’t change things too much. I know the people I’m working with.
“It’s completely normal after this that people think about how to carry on, but it takes a longer time, you can’t sort it out in a week.
“As a team we need to be concentrated on the things we’re actually here for – playing football.”
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While Klopp is relieved the Super League will not go ahead, he is no fan of the alternative plans to shake up the Champions League, either, after they were officially approved by UEFA this week.
“The most positive thing [about the ESL] is it didn’t happen, but what I’ve heard is it is not over yet – I don’t mean that the Super League could still happen but there are discussions about other things,” he said.
“You cannot just introduce new competitions. Yes the Super League is off the table. Good. Very good. But the new Champions League… ‘Oh great, let’s just do that’.
“UEFA showed it to me, they called me and gave one hour the whole idea and I said ‘I don’t like it because there are 10 games instead of six’.
“I have no idea where we shall put them.”
Klopp has consistently complained about the number of games players are asked to play and he believes a 36-team Champions League from 2024 will have repercussions elsewhere.
“Maybe UEFA will ask for a cup competition to be cancelled in England or they have 18 teams in a league,” he added.
“If you tell that to the Premier League then they say: ‘No way’.
“I know the supporters think, ‘play more games, they get paid a lot of money’, but we are already on the edge.
“Believe me, when all the coaches think the same there must be something that it could be a little too much.
“But UEFA didn’t ask us, the Super League didn’t ask us – just, ‘play more games’. The structure at the moment it is just not possible.
“You can’t have 20 teams in a league, two cup competitions, 10 international games before Christmas – these things aren’t possible.”