Roy Curtis is a two-time Irish Sports Writer of the Year winner. He joined Joe Molloy on the Paper Review to talk about Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.
Jurgen Klopp does not understand why other managers are remaining coy on vaccinations.
During his press conference ahead of Liverpool's game with Manchester City, Klopp spoke eloquently about a topic that exists outside of the realm of football. The clip has gone viral. It's not the first time that Klopp has gone viral for comments about non-football topics.
And Roy Curtis believes that is what separates him from his peers.
"Klopp is perhaps the most impressive figure in contemporary sport," he said.
"What shines through is the guy's emotional intelligence when he deals with a subject. He has that aura and gravitas and charisma of a natural leader. Today, he's come out and talked about vaccines. He's stressed that he, rather than deal with conspiracy theories, goes to experts...who told him the vaccine is the way to deal with this issue.
He's exceptionally forthright in an age when people are terrified to speak."
Klopp compared taking the vaccine to following drink-driving laws. He recognizes that the vaccine protects everyone, not just him individually. He also revealed that the Liverpool squad is 99% vaccinated and became so without his involvement.
The Liverpool manager does not consider it a breach of freedom.
His comments come as it was reported that Premier League players are not getting vaccinated.
Marca reports that "Only seven of the 20 teams have managed to vaccinate over half of their squad, with three clubs not vaccinating even 10 percent of their players." This is a global issue with athletes in America making similar headlines last week ahead of the start of the NBA season.
Jurgen Klopp has a superb response to the question of footballers (and wider society) being vaccinated, using the analogy of a drunk driver:
"The law is not there to protect me, it’s there for protecting all the other people because I’m drunk or pissed and want to drive a car." pic.twitter.com/r7dbLmTY2z
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) October 2, 2021
Curtis recognizes Klopp as on par with Bill Shankly because of moments such as this one.
"His link with Liverpool really manifests itself in how he shows leadership. Liverpool as a city is geographically within England's confines but politically, culturally, emotionally regards itself as sort of an independent republic.
And the leader of the football team is the voice for that city. It's why Shankly was revered.
I think Klopp...shows it time and again when he steps up and talks about things that other managers refuse to deal with and he does it with an intelligence, with a calmness, and with a charisma...I'm not a Liverpool supporter but I find myself rooting for them because of this guy.
You have a situation with vaccines, with the English clubs where there's a lot of clubs with less than 50% of their players vaccinated and it seems those conspiracy theories have held some sway with those players.
It's refreshing to see a guy of Klopp's stature deal with this rather than talk around it and be afraid to insult sensibilities.
He talks about it with a rationality and intelligence that's not often seen in professional sport."