Klopp's English: How Does the German Manager Dodge Tough Questions?


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Jürgen Klopp, the German coach of Liverpool, possesses an extremely rich record of controversial statements that few coaches in the history of football can compete with. This is because the German man has incorporated many aspects of controversy into his remarks: intensity at times, humor, public criticism, sarcasm, criticizing some of his players, and other traits that truly enrich Klopp's press conferences, setting them apart from others.

However, what Klopp has often done in press conferences, and continues to do, is invoke his relationship with the English language, using it to escape from various situations. The man's journey to learning the English language has had many twists and turns, starting from watching American dramas, progressing through his desire to learn, until he arrived in the English Premier League. It turned into a subject of mockery throughout an entire year in England, as he describes it himself, saying, "When I make a mistake in English, no one rushes to correct me; instead, they immediately turn me into a subject of mockery. I don't care about it so that I don't get annoyed because it's really annoying!"

Klopp's English as a Subject of Mockery

When Jürgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in 2015, he spent a considerable amount of time being a subject of mockery due to his controversial English language, which was occasionally humorous.

Some of the expressions Klopp used, translating them literally from German to English, left the English puzzled and the Germans in fits of laughter. For example, in a press conference in 2016, Klopp used the phrase "spray zero eight five!" to describe Liverpool's style of play. Everyone in England began asking about the origin of the phrase, but the explanation lay in Germany, where it sparked a wave of mockery. This statement might only be understood by a culturally savvy German, as described by the German website "Deutsche Welle."

The story behind this "spray" goes back to World War I, where German soldiers spent long, tedious hours training with this spray, categorizing it in German folklore as a dull activity. Hence, Klopp likened his team's playing style to this spray.

Klopp's English as an Exaggeration Tool

Klopp often uses the construction "My English can't describe this" to emphasize how wonderful something is. For instance, after a stellar performance by the Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, Klopp used a word capable of expressing Salah's brilliance while quickly deflecting the attention, noting that his English wouldn't do justice.

Klopp's English as an Escape Mechanism

When asked about the details of the altercation between Pep Guardiola and Darío Núñez, Klopp claimed he was English now and didn't understand anything they said. He mentioned trying to ease the tension of the argument, "even though I didn't understand a word they said," referring to the common Spanish language between the Manchester City coach and the Liverpool player.

Klopp's English to Delay Entry into the Premier League

At the age of 46, when Klopp was asked about the possibility of coaching in the English Premier League during his tenure at Borussia Dortmund, it seemed to have occupied his thoughts for a long time. His response was, "If my English were good, and I could understand the people from Liverpool and Manchester United, maybe I would have considered it now!" Two years after these statements, Klopp not only became the coach of Liverpool but also led them to break the Premier League curse and clinch the UEFA Champions League title.


In his time at Dortmund as well, Klopp responded to a question in a press conference about the reasons for injuries to players in the UEFA Champions League. He mentioned that he wanted to improve the quality of his English to better explain what he meant. Perhaps he was trying to evade the question!


Klopp's English as a Cause for Frustration

When the famous match between Liverpool and Tottenham ended in a 2-2 draw in the 2017-2018 season, and a penalty was awarded to Spurs in the dying moments for Erik Lamela, Klopp exploded in the press conference.

A week later, when questioned by journalists about what Klopp had said regarding "Lamela's dive," he exploded once again, stating that he did not mean what the journalists understood, and he wouldn't read what would be written about him. He questioned, "Is my English that bad?"

When Translation from English to English Is Needed

A humorous incident occurred before the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. A Spanish journalist asked Klopp in English, "Is Vinicius Junior one of the best players in the world for you?" However, he had already pronounced Klopp's name, leading Klopp to believe that the journalist would speak Spanish. Klopp quickly put on translation headphones.

To Klopp's surprise, the translator didn't say anything in his ears. When informed that the journalist had asked the question in English, Klopp burst into laughter before responding, "Yes."


Friends: Jurgen Klopp's English Lessons

It seems that Klopp's humorous sense in the English language is not a coincidence, considering the source from which the German learned English, which is none other than the famous TV series "Friends"!

Klopp had declared months ago that he was addicted to watching this series. As a result, you won't find his English inclined solely towards the British style; he also possesses many comedic expressions in his press conferences.

Darwin Nunez, What Are You Doing?

Klopp compels his non-English-speaking players to learn the language as a fundamental requirement for their integration into the team, even making it a condition for being a starter in the lineup.

Various sources have also reported that Klopp emphasizes English proficiency, especially in recent years, as a prerequisite for bringing players to Liverpool. Hence, Darwin Nunez's English proficiency seems surprising in the context of such rules!

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