‘It is like drink-driving’: Jürgen Klopp says anti-vaxxers endanger others

Jürgen Klopp has launched an attack on people who refuse coronavirus vaccinations by comparing them to drink-drivers and saying they are to blame if others catch Covid from them.

The Liverpool manager accused the anti-vaccination movement of ignoring the experts and endangering others while making disingenuous claims about a loss of freedom to justify their stance.

While many Premier League clubs are reportedly yet to get half their players fully vaccinated, Klopp said his persuasive powers were not required to ensure Liverpool’s squad are double jabbed. “I can say we have 99% vaccinated. I didn’t have to convince the players, it was more a natural decision from the team. I cannot remember really talking to a player in a one-on-one situation and explaining to him.”

Gareth Southgate has revealed he received abuse for recording a message encouraging young people to be vaccinated and Klopp, who followed his usual policy of consulting specialists in their fields, said: “It sounds like we are not allowed to give people advice. Where did I get the knowledge from that I think it makes sense to get the vaccine? I called doctors that I’ve known for years and I asked them: ‘What should I do?’

“That’s how I usually work: when you don’t know, you call a specialist and the specialist tells you. That’s why I took the vaccination because I am in an age group [54] where it is not that easy any more, the virus could be tricky, and I was really happy when I could get it. The specialists out there say the vaccination is the solution at the moment.

“If I say I am vaccinated, other people say: ‘How can you tell me I should be vaccinated?’ It is a little bit like drink-driving. We all probably were in a situation where we had a beer or two and thought we still could drive but, [because of] the law, we are not allowed to drive so we don’t drive. But this law is not there for protecting me when I drink two beers and want to drive, it’s for protecting all the other people because I’m drunk and we accept that as a law.

“I don’t take the vaccination only to protect me, I take the vaccination to protect all the people around me. I don’t understand why that is a limitation of freedom because, if it is, then not being allowed to drink and drive is a limitation of freedom as well. I got the vaccination because I was concerned about myself but even more so about everybody around me. If I get [Covid] and I suffer from it: my fault. If I get it and spread it to someone else: my fault and not their fault.”

Klopp called for greater openness about vaccination statuses in the interests of safety. “We are not allowed to ask people if they are vaccinated but I’m allowed to ask a taxi driver: ‘Are you drunk?’ If he says: ‘I don’t have to tell you,’ then I say: ‘OK, I don’t drive with you.’ If I show up in the office drunk, they can send me home or even sack me but we are not allowed to ask people. I might be really naive but I don’t understand it.”

Klopp will confront a different issue on Sunday as he reflected on Manchester City’s “luxury problem” after they failed to sign Harry Kane. City have scored one goal in their past two games, but the Liverpool manager said the reigning champions still possess enough firepower.

“I know they didn’t score 500 goals and the whole world is talking about they need a No 9,” he said. “Yeah, imagine if they had a No 9 on top of that. It’s a luxury problem, let me say it like this.”

City won 4-1 at Anfield in February with Phil Foden excelling as a false 9. Klopp said: “In the decisive area in and around the box, City always have enough options. Which number they have on their back is really not important.

“They bring in players in all the moments, the wingers are influential like ours are and last year Ilkay Gündogan arrived like 500 times in the box and scored from close range.”


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