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7 Players Who Fell Out With Jurgen Klopp

Written by on April 29, 2024

Highlights

  • Jurgen Klopp, despite his success with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, has fallen out with several players along the way.
  • Mohamed Salah is the latest player to confront Klopp, as the pair argued during Liverpool’s draw to West Ham United.
  • Other players to have fallen out with Klopp include Mario Balotelli and Xherdan Shaqiri.



The summer represents a significant shift for those associated with Liverpool. Their saving grace, Jurgen Klopp, is ending his successful – yet, in his own words, stressful – tenure as boss at the end of the season after becoming one of the greatest managers in Premier League history.

Stuttgart-born Klopp, known for his tough persona and stubbornness, made a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund and, thus, piqued the interest of the Premier League behemoths. Along the way, he’s formed an array of excellent relationships, though bust-ups have also been commonplace across both European clubs. It shows his passion and dedication to the game, his willingness to win – but, sometimes, it comes at a cost.

With that said, from his recent spat with Mohamed Salah to his transfer feud with the ever-chaotic Mario Balotelli, here are a total of seven players who Klopp has fallen out with – across his stints at Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund – for one reason or another.



Mohamed Salah

Tensions boiled over after refusing to shake Klopp’s hand

Across the German tactician’s nine-year stint in the Anfield hotseat, Mohamed Salah has been nothing short of a reliable figure on the flank – but the pair’s recent disagreement perhaps hints to some underlying problems. Recently, against West Ham United, the Egyptian King was visibly frustrated with his boss on the touchline with his arms aloft while seemingly exchanging some words – and it was later revealed that his annoyance stemmed from being left on the bench in such an important fixture for the Reds.


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In his post-match interview with TNT Sports, Klopp was sharp in shutting down any rumours, suggesting that the two had made amends in the dressing room and that should be the end of the matter: “No [I won’t talk about it]. We spoke already in the dressing room and for me that’s done.”

Mamadou Sakho

The Frenchman’s poor punctuality enraged Klopp

Sakho Klopp

Initially signed by Klopp’s predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, it wasn’t long before Mamadou Sakho rubbed the German up the wrong way, largely due to his poor punctuality. The Frenchman was an integral part of Klopp’s first season at the helm, but things quickly went south.

After showing up late to numerous meetings, the former Paris Saint-Germain ace was sent home early from the club’s pre-season tour of the United States in 2016. Klopp said:

“He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal. I have to build a group here, I have to start anew, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool.”


To little surprise, following his pre-season antics, Sakho never donned the fabled shirt of Liverpool again. He spent the first half of the 2016/17 campaign with the reserves before joining Crystal Palace on loan, unable to reclaim Klopp’s respect.

Lazar Markovic

Unhappy with manner of Anfield exitLazar Markovic

Lazar Markovic was one of the many players Klopp inherited upon his arrival. Unfortunately for the Serbian winger, he was deemed surplus to requirements and struggled to feature under the new boss. He, however, wasn’t best pleased with how his exit from the club was handled.

Speaking to Belgian newspaper DH, via the Daily Express, when he joined Anderlecht on loan in 2018, Markovic expressed his disapproval of Klopp’s ways: “It’s to show that I’m still the same player, to show the people of Liverpool that they can’t treat me that way. Yes, it’s okay to take it personally when you are not let go because they’re asking for an unrealistic transfer amount.”


Mario Balotelli

Italian outraged omission from pre-season squad

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli’s another one – but that doesn’t come as much of a surprise, does it? The mischievous Italian was never at the forefront of Klopp’s plans at Liverpool and after being left out of Liverpool’s pre-season tour to the United States, there was only realistic outcome.

Balotelli later backed himself and his decision to move elsewhere, all while adding fuel to the fire by claiming that upon their next meeting, he made it very clear that he would not be returning without a guarantee of increased game time. He said:

“Klopp does not know me and I do not know him. I was back in Liverpool a month and a half and I spoke to him once. He explained to me that I could stay there, but I was not his first choice, and he told me it was better if I went somewhere else. If I got games, did well, I could come back, but I said goodbye and thank you, and that we wouldn’t be seeing each other again.”


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Nuri Sahin

Removed from training after bust-up with teammate

Nuri Sahin

After Nuri Sahin – one of the players you forgot played for Real Madrid – started an argument with another Borussia Dortmund player behind closed doors in training, Klopp stepped in to settle the teammate-on-teammate dispute. Instead, he removed the now 35-year-old from the session.

Speaking to GOAL while sporting a wry smile, former Turkey international Sahin relived the incident and offered a closer insight into his former boss’ unique man-management techniques.

“It was either 2009 or 2010, I was playing for Borussia Dortmund and the coach threw me out of training. He told me to leave because I had an argument with another player. I was young and I thought I knew everything. I was sure I was in the right, 100 per cent, but he told me to go, so I went.”


Matters were resolved in speedy fashion, however, and Sahin and Klopp went on to become Bundesliga champions together in the 2010/11 season.

Xherdan Shaqiri

Blamed for not setting Salah up for a one-vs-one

Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates

Now basking in the United States sun for Chicago Fire, 121-cap Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri once felt the wrath of the non-negotiable Klopp. Shaqiri was one of a handful of stars picked up to help the Reds reach the upper echelons of English football but then flopped upon their departure.

His career on Merseyside wasn’t always as straightforward, though, as he learned in 2018 after Liverpool were dumped out of the League Cup by Chelsea. Upon the full-time whistle, Klopp marched over to the winger, and they exchanged a barrage of heated words. Klopp, after the match, explained why, citing Shaqiri’s failure to set Salah in through on goal.


“I spoke about a free-kick – the last one. Mo was standing wide and a whole bunch of players were in one direction where we shot the ball. If he could have played in Mo on a one-on-one situation in the last minute of the game it would have been not too bad. It was only about the free-kick, nothing else.”

Jordon Ibe

Lack of minutes at Anfield led to reported rift

Liverpool's Jordon Ibe

After being courted as the next Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and Klopp’s relationship dwindled with reports suggesting the pair had butted heads after three months without a start in the Premier League for the Englishman. The former Dortmund figure later underplayed the suggestions by saying: “I heard from somewhere that Jordon has some problems with me or something? Absolutely not.”


However, Ibe later jumped ship to Bournemouth for regular game time and cited Rodgers’ blueprint as to why he moved down south, all while completely snubbing Klopp. Perhaps then all was not so well behind the scenes.

“Bournemouth is a good club. They play the same football as Brendan Rodgers used to play so I like the style of play and the philosophy the manager has got.”

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