Ajax 0-1 Liverpool: 7 of Jurgen Klopp's worst excuses as he blames the pitch for poor display

  • Kat Lucas

A depleted Liverpool overcame Ajax 1-0 in their opening Champions League game of the season. 

The Reds were in action for the first time since it was confirmed that Virgil van Dijk has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will likely miss the rest of the season.

In his place, midfielder Fabinho did an excellent job at centre-back and Joe Gomez – who has had critics in the early stages of the campaign – helped to keep a clean sheet. 

Those were the positives, but the English champions weren’t at their best in Amsterdam. 

On top of a couple of characteristically chaotic moments from Adrian, Liverpool lacked fluidity and there was little of the free-flowing football of last season. 

Despite mitigating circumstances, Jurgen Klopp pointed fingers at an odd target: the pitch at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. 

Klopp blames the pitch

“I really think the pitch was really tricky. It was like deep, muddy a little bit,” he told BT Sport, as seen in the Mirror. 

“Even if you can’t see it from outside but it was like this because both teams looked really exhausted pretty early.”

His comments didn’t go down well with Ajax boss Erik ten tag, but perhaps they shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise.

After all, it’s not the first time the German has made excuses after a sub-par showing from his side. 

West Ham United 1-1 Liverpool

Klopp was charged by the FA for criticising the officials, despite Sadio Mane getting away with an offside goal against West Ham. The Reds boss felt the referee subsequently punished his team to make up for the earlier error. 

“I heard our goal was offside, I’m pretty sure the ref knew that in the second half,” he said. 


“In 50-50 situations or 60-40 it was always a free-kick for the other team, which was hard and did not make life easy.”

West Brom 2-2 Liverpool

Klopp reserved one of his saltiest digs for already relegated West Brom, claiming they didn’t water the pitch at half-time.

“They can do it next year, playing with a dry pitch in the Championship.” Ouch. 

Liverpool 0-1 Southampton (0-2 agg)

Southampton beat Liverpool across two legs in the 2017 League Cup semi-final. Klopp made some pretty disparaging comments about the Saints, saying the weather made it “difficult for the football-playing side”. 

“First half, it was difficult – the wind was really strange, it was difficult to handle,” he added. 


Liverpool 2-3 West Brom

In January 2018, Craig Pawson had used VAR so many times that there ought to have been 10 minutes of first-half stoppage time. “It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it’s not longer than four minutes,” Klopp insisted. 

“Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast.” 

Liverpool 1-1 Leicester

“The ball didn’t roll really”, Klopp claimed as his side failed to beat Leicester in snowy conditions. It was no wonder he was showing signs of cracking, as a couple of draws in quick succession ultimately threw Liverpool off course and handed Manchester City the title. 


Wolves 2-1 Liverpool

Wolves proved themselves among the sides who are unaffected by the wind, which meant that Liverpool players “struggled to control the ball”. 

“The wind didn’t help,” Klopp said. 

In fairness, he has only been defeated in 56 out of 311 games since taking the job in 2015, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t take losing well. It’s not something he’s experienced all that much at Liverpool. 

Klopp isn’t the only man associated with the club who is prone to excuses, though, as Graeme Souness showed at the start of the month. 

Souness suggested Aston Villa had deliberately let the grass grow too long to debilitate ball-playing sides, a claim that irked groundsmen. 

Against Ajax, at least there was no reason for Liverpool to be too disheartened.

The 2019 European champions overcame what could have been a tricky away trip to get their Champions League campaign off to an ideal start. 

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