Klopp pays tribute to Kjaer leadership for response to Eriksen collapse

By Sports Desk September 15, 2021

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Simon Kjaer ahead of Wednesday's clash with Milan, saluting the defender for his composure and humanity in response to Christian Eriksen collapsing at Euro 2020.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's European Championship opener against Finland in June, with Kjaer the first on the scene to place his team-mate in the recovery position before leading the rest of the team in the formation of a protective shield around the Inter man as he received treatment.

The 29-year-old midfielder was subsequently taken to hospital and it was later confirmed he had suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch, but medics were able to resuscitate him.

Eriksen was fitted with a pacemaker before returning home, though it remains unclear if he will ever play again.

Kjaer received widespread praise for his quick-thinking at such a crucial juncture, with he and the eight medics involved hailed the "true heroes of Euro 2020" and presented with the 2021 UEFA President's Award by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin last month.

Kjaer is expected to be in the Milan team that will play the club's first Champions League match in seven-and-a-half years at Anfield, and Klopp hopes Liverpool fans recognise the defender's exploits.

"I am usually more keen to focus on my own players rather than an opponent, but tonight I must make an exception," Klopp wrote in his programme notes.

"This evening it is possible that Simon Kjaer will line up against us and this is a person who I think has the respect of the entire football and sporting world.

"You recognise true leadership in a crisis. I think the world acknowledges this now more than ever with everything that goes on around us.

"Like millions of others, I was rocked by the scenes that unfolded at the European Championship in the summer when Christian Eriksen fell ill during Denmark's opening group game.

"There were many heroes that night, not least of all the remarkable medical professionals for the Danish national team, in the stadium and subsequently at the hospital. But Simon shone that traumatic day for his own conduct.

"The image of the Danish players shielding their team-mate as he was cared for will, in my opinion, forever be one of the most iconic in sporting history. It showed the best of humanity. Compassion, care and love for their friend.

"Honestly, I have no idea how he managed to not only keep his own composure in that situation, but to have the clarity of mind to make the decisions he did in that moment. His conduct humbles us all.

"I'm told that Simon's dad is an LFC fan – and if that is the case, he must be bursting with pride that his boy is now recognised worldwide as the epitome of our anthem, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

"I know our supporters are knowledgeable and generous of spirit and therefore I am sure Simon will feel the gratitude of the home crowd tonight, but for the 90-plus minutes of the game he is again the opponent."

Wednesday's contest will be Liverpool's first Champions League match in front of a home crowd since March 11, 2020, when the Reds lost 3-2 to Atletico Madrid after extra-time and were dumped out of the competition at the last-16 stage.

Klopp feels Liverpool were always lacking something in the absence of supporters through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, but in his opinion that was always exemplified during Champions League games.

"It will be so cool just before kick-off to hear that Champions League anthem and see the players lined up in front of a full Anfield," he continued. "We missed supporters for every second of every game during the pandemic, but I must admit it was most acute on the European nights.

"Let's have all the noise, all the colour, all the positive energy and all the passion and intensity that is our trademark. Let's give this fixture the stage it deserves. I honestly cannot wait."

Wednesday's match will be the first meeting between the two historic clubs that is not a European final, with their only prior clashes being in the Champions League deciders in 2005 and 2007, winning once each.

Related items

  • Durant: Nobody hoping Irving will come to save us after Nets lose amid pro-Kyrie protests Durant: Nobody hoping Irving will come to save us after Nets lose amid pro-Kyrie protests

    Kevin Durant said nobody is hoping Kyrie Irving will return to "save us" after the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Charlotte Hornets amid protests in support of the absent NBA All-Star.

    Irving is yet to play this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing with the Nets – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

    Demonstrators gathered outside Barclays Center prior to Sunday's 111-95 defeat at home to the Hornets, showing their support of Irving.

    After the Nets dropped to 1-2 for the season, Durant was asked about team-mate Irving and him being away from the championship-chasing franchise.

    "It's three games in. Of course, we've got enough," Durant told reporters post-game after posting 38 points.

    "We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening right now. So we've got to figure it out.

    "But nobody's going to lose confidence while we're playing and hope Kyrie comes and saves us during the game. No, you've got to play."

    James Harden was far from his best against the Hornets, going just six-of-16 shooting from the field for 15 points in 33 minutes, while he also tallied eight turnovers.

    The former MVP endured an injury-hit first season with the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

    "I'm just getting my confidence back," Harden said. "I'm a little hesitant. You guys can see it. Just making sure my confidence continues to build, and that's all that matters.

    "We're at game three and hopefully my confidence -- not hopefully -- but my confidence will rise and will continue to get better as games go on, and I feel more confident and get that burst of speed like I'm normally used to. No worries at all."

    Harden has also found himself drawing fewer fouls this season after the NBA introduced a rule change, aimed specifically at players who make "abnormal movements" to get to the free-throw line.

    He only went to the line once against the Hornets, having averaged 4.0 attempts heading into the contest – his lowest average since the 2010-11 season (4.2).

    "I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nets head coach Steve Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."

    Nash added: "I think he’s got to stick with it. But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions.  I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls.

    "So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn't get fouls, he can still make plays.

    "He can still finish them, and pass and do all the things that he does. So he's just got to continue as he finds his rhythm again after very little basketball for half a year. Keep attacking, keep attacking, and they're gonna respect his skill level and his ability to get guys on his shoulder and get to the basket."

  • Inter CEO Marotta: No PIF talks for Nerazzurri takeover Inter CEO Marotta: No PIF talks for Nerazzurri takeover

    Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there is "absolutely nothing" in reports claiming talks between the Serie A champions and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) regarding a potential takeover.

    Suning's ownership of Inter remains in doubt, despite the sales of star pair Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, as the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues.

    PIF completed a takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United, though they were linked with Inter prior and they reportedly remain interested in the Nerazzurri.

    Marotta, however, dismissed the possibility of Suning seeking a sale in the immediate future.

    "I am not a shareholder, but in the past few days I have spoken with the president and he has given reassurances on his continuing on," Marotta told DAZN prior to Sunday's 1-1 draw with Juventus.

    "There are absolutely nothing concrete to do with that fund, as far as the question of ownership.

    "I limit myself to managing the club with my colleagues, we try to do it in the best way."

  • Brady hits milestone in Bucs rout as Stafford's Rams survive Lions scare Brady hits milestone in Bucs rout as Stafford's Rams survive Lions scare

    Tom Brady made history once again as Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled past the Chicago Bears 38-3 in NFL action Sunday. 

    With a nine-yard strike to Mike Evans in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Brady became the first NFL quarterback to throw 600 touchdown passes.

    The 44-year-old – 20-of-36 passing for 211 yards – would finish the game with 602 for his career, all four of his TD tosses going for fewer than 10 yards and three of them landing in Evans' hands. 

    Blaine Gabbert took over at quarterback for Brady midway through the fourth quarter with the game well in hand as the Buccaneers improved to 6-1. 

    Brady's opposite number, Bears rookie QB Justin Fields, had a brutal day as he was sacked four times and threw three interceptions as Chicago failed to find the end zone. 

    Stafford, Rams survive Lions scare

    The matchup between Super Bowl contenders the Los Angeles Rams and the winless Detroit Lions finished with the expected result, but the Rams' 28-19 win was much closer than anticipated. 

    The Rams (6-1) trailed 19-17 entering the fourth quarter and needed a five-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp early in the period to take the lead and a 47-yard Matt Gay field goal with just over a minute to play to seal the win. 

    Stafford completed 28 of 41 passes for 334 yards and three TDs against the team he played for in the first 12 years of his career, while former Rams QB Jared Goff threw a pair of costly interceptions for the Lions (0-7).

    Kupp became the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 800-plus receiving yards and nine-plus receiving touchdowns in his team's first seven games of a season.

    While the Lions remained the only winless team in the league after Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals (7-0) maintained their status as the lone team with a perfect record, routing the Houston Texans 31-5 behind three TD passes by Kyler Murray. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.