Belfast Telegraph

Rocky fan Klopp eyes a knockout blow at Goodison

By Rory Dollard

Jurgen Klopp has never been to Goodison Park before but the Liverpool manager is dreaming of landing a knockout blow in the Merseyside derby after a late-night viewing of the latest Rocky film.

Klopp was already looking forward to Monday when some late-night channel-hopping drew him to last year's Rocky reboot 'Creed'. In the film, Sylvester Stallone's latest protégé takes on a character played by WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew and the climactic fight takes place at Everton's home ground.

"Last night when I watched Creed that was my first impression of Goodison Park," said the Reds boss. "When I came home I had nothing to do so I decided to watch a film, I found Creed and it was really good but I had no idea Goodison played a part.

"There are not a lot of coincidences in life but this was my first impression. It looked good.

"The favourite (Bellew's character) was from Liverpool but I have a little bit of sympathy with the other guy. Rocky is a wonderful story, I've loved it my whole life. Maybe some time I will go to the steps in Philadelphia."

While Klopp is clearly happy to talk about the franchise, it is unlikely to crop up in a pre-match team talk. He tried that in the past, only to draw blank looks from the majority of his squad at Borussia Dortmund.

"When I was much younger I tried to use the story of Rocky IV, with Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa, in a meeting," he continued.

"After five minutes I realised none of my players had a clue what I was talking about so I had to start anew. Only two players knew the film."

Klopp does not pretend the Merseyside derby was a major date in his calendar as a child growing up in Germany but has become enamoured by the history of the city and the fixture.

And for a man who frequently stresses the need for perspective in sport, even he accepts the traffic around Merseyside might stop for a time on Monday.

"I cannot say Everton is my enemy since I was 12, it's not like this," he said. "But I love how they live in this city, these two big clubs. A lot of nice people support Everton. So football is not the most important thing in the world but on Monday night I would say for 90 minutes in and around Liverpool it probably is.

"It is very, very, very, very, very big. It is a very important moment in the season for all of us."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph