The hopes of Barcelona are in the hands of Jurgen Klopp.
That’s what Catalan newspaper Sport say on Friday, and even now they can’t be fully nice.
Sport have had a thing about Klopp for some time, annoyed with the way he dealt with the Philippe Coutinho situation. For not rolling over and accepting the superiority of Barcelona, the German became fair game.
Whilst Mundo Deportivo declared Klopp a ‘hero’ this week, gracing their front page on Thursday, Sport have a column on ‘crazy’ (and this time it doesn’t sound like it’s meant in a good way) Klopp and his ‘crazy’ football.
This is what they’re banking on to save themselves from the dreaded sight of Sergio Ramos lifting another Champions League trophy for arch-enemy Real Madrid.
‘It is the consolation of the desperate. But it is what we have left. Entrust ourselves to Klopp and his Liverpool.’
The German manager is the ‘last hope’ of Barca fans, and the Catalan media, and Sport say Liverpool winning would complete a ‘treble’ for Barcelona: Two trophies of their own and Madrid not winning the Champions League.
But should Klopp guide Liverpool to European triumph, it will not be a victory the Catalan newspaper can crow about, given they put in so much effort trying to ridicule the man and undermine him and his club.
Their strops haven’t aged well.
In August, Sport reported Liverpool were essentially a selling club and would have to accept a Coutinho offer once it touched €100m. They added: ‘Little by little the work of representatives of the Catalan club has been undermining the leaders of Liverpool.’
Sport suggested Barcelona should approach Naby Keita, just to annoy Liverpool, and openly admitted that a reason for targeting Thomas Lemar would be to teach the club a lesson.
Then in September they really started targeting Klopp, seemingly trying to put a wedge between him and the Anfield faithful.
‘The fans criticise Klopp for not starting Coutinho’
‘Coutinho reappeared in Liverpool against Sevilla, but the fans got angry with Klopp’
‘Liverpool fans are upset with their coach, Jurgen Klopp, for how he’s handling Coutinho’s case’
In October, Sport published an article with 14 paragraphs attacking Klopp, all this because the Liverpool had refused to sell Coutinho.
The Catalan newspaper, mockingly, said Klopp thought Salah, Firmino and Mane would be an offensive trio that could be compared to Barcelona’s Dembele, Messi and Suarez, or PSG’s Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe, or Real Madrid’s Cristiano, Bale and Benzema.
Defeat to Tottenham had all but killed Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League title, and Sport were using it to twist the knife, ending their rant with: ‘Now, his title options only go through the cups, since failing in the Champions League seems only a matter of time.’
And now Sport look to ‘crazy’ Klopp to save them.
Més que un turnaround.