Jurgen Klopp: Was Liverpool boss right to salute Kop?

Klopp salutes the Kop
Jurgen Klopp leads Liverpool's salute in front of the Kop after a stoppage-time equaliser earned a 2-2 draw against West Brom

Rival fans might argue that celebrating a 2-2 draw against West Brom in front of the Kop is a sign how of far Liverpool have fallen.

But Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, fresh from a row with Baggies boss Tony Pulis, felt Divock Origi's injury-time leveller at Anfield produced a moment that "football is for".

Never one to hide his feelings, Klopp admitted it took him time to cool down after his side drew against a team whose tactics he took issue with.

He also refused to shake Pulis' hand at full-time because "it was not a friendly game".

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Instead, Klopp strode on to the pitch and led his players over to the Kop, where they stood in line to salute their fans.

"I wanted to say 'thank you'," said the German, who regularly joined his players in a similar celebration at former club Borussia Dortmund.

"You need moments like this, and you need moments like this at home, that everybody that can enjoy.

"It's only a point but everybody will talk about this game for the next five or six days, and that's important and that's what football is for.

"We all wanted this one point and it felt like three. In this moment it was an explosion."

Former England captain Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day 2 that Klopp had been "very clever".

He added: "If you remember he had a moan at Liverpool fans for leaving early when they were down to Crystal Palace a few weeks ago, he wanted them to stay behind to drive the team on. They did today, and I think that's his way of saying thanks to the fans."

Going head-to-head with Pulis

Jurgen Klopp celebrates Origi's goal and then turns towards Tony Pulis
Jurgen Klopp celebrated Divock Origi's goal and then turned towards Tony Pulis

It was clear something was building inside Klopp during a fiercely contested game. Pulis, and his tactics, were at the heart of it.

Klopp said: "We had some words in the game. Sometimes it takes more than a few seconds to cool down."

The row began when West Brom midfielder Craig Gardner caught Dejan Lovren with a thunderous tackle, which led to the Liverpool defender being carried off on a stretcher.

The Baggies led 2-1 at that point thanks to goals from Craig Dawson and Jonas Olsson after Jordan Henderson's opener for the hosts.

Origi's late leveller released a valve in Klopp.

Asked about his altercation with Pulis, he said: "I can't talk about this because I only talk about football.

"Usually I shake hands. I did not today because it was not a friendly game."

Explaining his frustration further, he added: "This game was not a game to lose.

"The opponent was only playing long balls, only set-plays, and if you get points like this, do it, but not here."

Pulis added: "He is animated. I have been animated all my life on the bench. I have no problems with that."

Jurgen Klopp
Klopp attempts to get the crowd going for a potential winner

Let's take it onto the pitch

When Klopp went on to the pitch at full-time, West Brom coach Mark O'Connor followed in an attempt to shake his hand.

At first, Klopp, who has overseen three wins, three draws and two defeats in his eight Premier League games, refused.

But, as often seems to be the case with the 48-year-old, the blood cooled and the smile soon returned.

Jurgen Klopp refuses a handshake with West Brom's first-team coach Mark O'Connor
Klopp refuses a handshake with West Brom's joint assistant head coach Mark O'Connor
Jurgen Klopp
Klopp then shakes hands with O'Connor

If it's good enough for Dortmund...

Jurgen Klopp
Klopp salutes the crowd while at Dortmund (left) and at Liverpool (right)

Once Klopp shook hands with O'Connor, it was time to celebrate with the fans.

"It was the best atmosphere since I've been here," said Klopp. "I enjoyed the atmosphere with my whole body.

"Maybe the crowd were disappointed but they didn't let us feel that. We were all in the game."

So he led his team over to the Kop. Some players looked sheepish, others were quick to join in, but it left a lasting image of a manager aiming to build a bond with fans who have not seen their side win the title since 1989-90.

While Liverpool were celebrating their draw, fans of Klopp's former club sang Jingle Bellsexternal-link to their team following a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Perhaps Klopp is attempting to create a similar rapport with Liverpool fans to the one he enjoyed in Dortmund.

If the reaction of the Anfield crowd - and a poll on the Liverpool Echo websiteexternal-link - is anything to go by, he might have stuck the right chord.

Former Times football editor and Liverpool fan Tony Evans
Former Times football editor and Liverpool fan Tony Evans thought Klopp's gesture was misguided
Anfield HQ

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