Steven Caulker, a former Liverpool defender, claims Jurgen Klopp unfairly ‘wrote him off’ during his time at Anfield
In January 2016, Caulker was signed on loan from Southampton as an emergency center-back. The then-24-year-old went on to play only four times for the Reds, which was a huge surprise at the time. And now, in an interview with Under The Cosh, the Sierra Leone international claims that Klopp never gave him a chance.
“For two months, things did change. I went there, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was white-knuckling it. I didn’t know how to deal with my addiction; I was coping in some way because I craved the opportunity. “But the chance never came,” Caulker said. “I had a couple of run outs up front, played a little bit.
“We then had the cup replay against West Ham, and I’d done my back in, horrible spasms that I couldn’t shake.” I had to tell him I couldn’t play the morning of the game. I was supposed to start, but I said I couldn’t. I was devastated, and he dismissed me from then on. I believe he dismissed me as one of those guys who didn’t want to or were afraid to play. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
That was the end of my moment. I was like ‘nah, that’s not on’ as soon as that went – and I felt it go because he started putting me in the U23s to play every week. You see it all the time: the manager simply says, ‘you’re not for me, get down with the kids.'”
Caulker fails to earn a chance at Liverpool.
This is just a snippet of a fascinating conversation with Caulker. But, based on the rest of the conversation, you can’t help but feel sorry for him.
First and foremost, when the former Tottenham Hotspur player receives word that Liverpool is interested in him, he claims to be passed out drunk on a Dublin floor. Caulker needed help at the time because he was struggling with various addictions. He was clearly unfit to play for Liverpool.
As a result, you can understand Klopp’s point of view here. Caulker’s extracurricular habits are likely to have filtered back to Jurgen, injury or no injury.
The German places a high value on the people he surrounds himself with on the squad. If he is unsure about a player’s behavior, they will leave quickly. Jurgen, in Caulker’s case, most likely saw right through him.
You can sympathize with the defender because he was never really given a chance to shine. But at a club like Liverpool, you have to earn that opportunity. Despite his claims to the contrary, it’s safe to say Caulker never did that.
Maybe putting the one-cap England international with the youngsters was harsh, but Klopp wouldn’t have done it without reason. It would be interesting to hear the boss’ take on this one…