The former Reds midfielder accepts that the man in charge at Anfield needs a trophy, but considers any criticism of his record to be “ridiculous”
Jurgen Klopp is no “bottler”, says Paul Ince, but even a Champions League triumph will not make up for Liverpool’s Premier League title pain.
The man in charge at Anfield is still waiting on a first piece of silverware in England.
He has reached Carabao Cup, Europa League and Champions League finals, while finishing the 2018-19 campaign as runners-up in the English top flight.
Another shot at an elusive trophy is set to take Liverpool to Madrid on Saturday and a continental clash with Tottenham.
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Ince believes any criticism of Klopp’s record ahead of that game is “ridiculous”, but he does feel that the disappointment of missing out on a league crown will still be weighing on the mind of those on Merseyside.
The former Reds midfielder told Paddy Power : “For Liverpool, winning the Champions League wouldn’t make up for losing out on the Premier League title.
“The disappointment of losing it on the last day of the season, or of Vincent Kompany’s unbelievable goal against Leicester, will be huge.
“There’ll be nothing that can replace the league title, but winning the European Cup would come close. I hear people saying that if Klopp loses this final, he’s a bottler.
“And let me tell you something right now, people who say things like that – I can’t even find the word to describe them. How can you call Liverpool bottlers?
“They’ve pushed City to the last game of the season, they’re in the Champions League final and they were in it last year too. Yes, they were nervous and lost out, but they’ve clearly not let it get to them.
“It’s completely disrespectful to call them or Klopp a bottler. We all know that as a manager you have to win something, some silverware, but Pochettino is in the same position.
“Both teams have proved that when they need to dig in and get a result. When you look at Klopp when he took over – he’s done an amazing job, a job no one else could have come in and done.
“The only thing I would say is that if Klopp fails to win this weekend, perhaps it would be a case of putting more focus in securing a League Cup or an FA Cup, to ensure you have trophies in the cabinet and the winning mentality.
“But to call Liverpool or Klopp a bottler is a disgrace – utterly ridiculous, whether they win or lose on Saturday.”
Liverpool’s last success came back in 2012, when Kenny Dalglish guided them to League Cup glory during a second spell as manager.