Jurgen Klopp has laughed off Neil Warnock’s claim that Cardiff will have a “virtually impossible” task at Liverpool on Saturday and stressed how much he is looking forward to meeting the Bluebirds boss.
Liverpool are currently unbeaten and second in the Premier League, level on points with leaders Manchester City, and on Wednesday they beat Red Star Belgrade 4-0 at Anfield in the Champions League.
Cardiff, meanwhile, are 17th with five points from nine games, having secured their first win of the season last weekend when they beat Fulham 4-2 at home.
Warnock said on Friday of the challenge for his men at Anfield: “It’s massive. It’s virtually impossible for any team in the current game.”
When that was then put to Klopp at his pre-match press conference, the Reds manager laughed and said: “I am really looking forward to meeting him. I heard a lot about him, and he’s obviously vocal-wise very talented.
“It will be a big pleasure to meet him – not sure during the 90 minutes, but before and after I’m sure.
“It would be so cool if that’s the truth, but it’s not and they will try everything.
“He is one of the most experienced managers in the world of football, and so successful in the past – it’s unbelievable.
“We are aware of the quality of Cardiff. Cardiff and Neil Warnock are famous for the way he plays. Last week gave them for sure a big boost, 100 per cent, but before that they were not bad. They deserve all our respect and they will get it.”
Klopp added of Warnock: “He looks like a character, a very, very emotional and lively person.
“I watched a lot of the final period of the Championship last year, and it was impressive how they did it (got promoted).
“From all the big English active managers, he’s the last one I have to meet. I’m looking forward to it.”
With Jordan Henderson – who will miss Saturday’s fixture, along with Naby Keita – sitting out Wednesday’s match due to injury and James Milner an unused substitute, Virgil Van Dijk captained the team.
And when asked about that on Friday, Klopp revealed it was something the players had voted for.
“It was not my decision,” Klopp said.
“I decided Hendo and Millie will stay (as captain and vice-captain respectively). And I said for the next two, the players can vote, and now two Dutch guys are in a row – the team decided number three for Virgil and number four for Gini Wijnaldum. That was a players’ decision.”
Klopp was also asked about it being reported that Liverpool have opened talks with defender Joe Gomez’s representatives about a new contract.
While he declined to confirm whether or not that was the case, Klopp was full of praise for the England international.
The German said: “We don’t talk about that. But Joe is a very important part of the squad and it’s so nice to see.
“Now seeing him full of confidence and being really fit, I know what they were talking about when they told me how good he was, and, much more importantly, how good he is.
“Of course, he has a big future here at Liverpool, no doubt about that.”
“I’ve got my pro (coaching) license now,” Fowler told Sport360 on Thursday, “and as you know the pro-license is the highest badge you can get in any football.”
“What I need now is a bit of a chance. There’s obviously stuff in the UK I keep my hand to but if I have to go overseas to become the manager I want to be (then I’ll do it).”
The 43-year-old has already had one spell in overseas football, managing Muangthong United in the Thai League 1 in 2011-12.
“I feel as those I’ve got a lot to offer the game,” he continued, “I feel as if I’m knowledgeable. In fact I don’t feel as if I’m knowledgeable, I know I’m knowledgeable.
“I’ve got a lot to give to the game. That’s why I went away and done my Pro-license because I wanted people to maybe take me serious.
“But I’m just looking for a chairman or an owner who’s got a little bit about them to give me a little bit of a go, and guaranteed I’d never let anyone down.”
And if that owner happened to be in the UAE…?
“Without a shadow (of a doubt),” Fowler confirmed. “I’ve been going to Dubai in the UAE for over 20 years now and I don’t claim to know everything about the game (in the UAE) but I have seen games.
“And I’ve seen how passionate some people are about football, whether its experts or even Emiratis. They can get behind the game when they want to.
“I do like the football over there, I really do. And if it means me becoming a manager and being given that option in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE, I’d love a stab at that, I’d love a chance at that.
“If that what it takes for me to become a manager then I’m all for it.
“So regardless of whether it’s the UAE or Australia or anywhere else, I’d love a chance. I really would.”
Fowler would certainly find himself at home with other stars who have excelled in the English game, such as former Crystal Palace star Yohan Cabaye and former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo, now plying their trade with Al Nasr.
“That’s what you want,” agreed Fowler, “any league in any part (of the world), as long as you’ve got players who are coming there and you’ve got people who are supporting the league, it gives that chance for the league to grow.
“That’s all you can ask for and when you’ve got that then I think everyone’s relatively happy.”
Talking of managers he admired he mentioned three bosses he played under during his many years at Liverpool.
“I’ve been quite lucky because I’ve played under all different levels of management,” said Fowler, “I loved Roy Evans because his man- management was superb.
“Technically and tactically he probably wasn’t as good as a Rafa (Benitez) or Gerard Houllier. Roy would probably forgive me for that.
“But Rafa and Gerard Houllier, their attention to detail was incredible, it really was.
“It’s easy for me to say I want to take everything (but) I love the man-management side of it. I think if you’re a great man-manager you can bring out the very best of players.
“I think obviously you need to be knowledgeable, you need to know the technical side of the age now, but it’s also important you get the good team (support staff) around you as well so you’ve got every angle covered in terms of football.
“So I would prefer to go down the great man management route as well as doing the technical side as I think that is probably the way forward.
“I don’t think you can have one here and one there – I think you’ve got to have a little bit of everything, certainly in terms of the modern game.”
Fowler is in the UAE to support the DHL Swing Against Cancer Series, at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday November 1, along with another former football great Matt Le Tissier and England cricket star, Ian Bell.
It’s a cause that he feels very passionate about.
“I think anyone in any walk of life, whether it’s a friend or a person within the family, whose been involved with cancer,” explained Fowler, whose own family has been effected more than once.
“Sadly it’s a horrible disease and people all over the world have lost family and friends because of this disease.
“So it’s really about trying to raise a little bit of money, trying to raise a little bit of awareness and get more and more people involved with trying to raise that little bit of money for unbelievable charities.”
If you’d like to join Robbie at the DHL Swing Against Cancer Series on November 1 Golf and Dinner only spaces are still available. Just email [email protected] to book your spot.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed the touch of ‘genius’ by Xherdan Shaqiri that helped Mohamed Salah take his club total to 50 goals in 65 games as the Reds thrashed Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) 4-0 on Wednesday night at Anfield in the Champions League.
To hear what Klopp had to say watch below.