Jurgen Klopp says he could not have handled the pressure of playing football while being investigated, as Roberto Firmino has recently.
Jurgen Klopp spoke in awe of Roberto Firmino’s ability to perform under the pressure of having an investigation into allegedly abusive comments hanging over him.
The Football Association (FA) confirmed on Wednesday that Firmino would not face a charge over his clash with Everton defender Mason Holgate in a January FA Cup tie between Liverpool and their rivals at Anfield.
An FA investigation found insufficient evidence to punish Firmino, but added “the allegation was made in absolute good faith by Holgate”.
Firmino scored five goals in the seven games he played in the 47 days between the tempestuous derby and the FA publishing its decision, consistency Klopp believes he himself would not have been capable of.
“He knew he didn’t say it. We knew he didn’t say it. But we couldn’t say it in public,” said Klopp.
“I was never in doubt about it, but I only thought that if I am in a situation like that, which goes on for 47 days, and somebody thinks I said something, then it would be difficult for me to deal with it to be honest. That is why I said I am really proud of Roberto with how he dealt with it. Now it is done – all good.
“There were a few times we asked internally was there anything we could say or that we know already? And it was no. Nothing. It felt long and I was happy when I heard finally.
“We all take it really seriously, that’s not only a saying. Obviously in this world racism is something we really need to think about and be careful about, but if there is nothing we need to sort it as well. All good now, let’s carry on.
“I don’t think that every day it was in his mind because we were all sure that nothing can happen, actually. That is the situation.
“He is a pure footballer, he wants to play and work. For one session in Marbella I took him out and said, ‘thank you’ because he doesn’t rest so I have to do it. He is a footballer and he feels best when he is on the pitch, hopefully it stays like this.”