Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has suggested players should cut out social media use to minimise the impact of would-be online abusers.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita were all sent racist comments after Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.
The club condemned the abuse as “abhorrent” and “utterly unacceptable” and called on platforms to introduce “the strongest possible preventative measures”.
Rangers, managed by former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, joined Swansea City and Birmingham City this week in boycotting social media as part of a challenge to companies to do more to prevent abuse.
Klopp is not active on social media but believes the best way to deprive abusers of the “forum” they crave is to “cut them off”.
Online abuse has got to stop. Recently I’ve been thinking about what I can do, as an individual, to try and make a difference. I’ve seen friends, team-mates, other players within football and in wider society be on the receiving end of horrendous online abuse which… 1/4 pic.twitter.com/TLnrYXAzWF
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 8, 2021
He told reporters: “With social media in general, we obviously have the problem that people can hide behind whatever account and say what they want to say. That’s a problem that really has to get sorted on this planet as quick as possible.
“I got criticised quite a lot in my life, and not only recently. And the advice I would give is that people you don’t know, people who are not really interested in you, people who don’t want to help you with criticism, don’t listen [to them]. Don’t listen.
“They need a forum. They need people to read it and take these kinds of things seriously. That’s how bullying works, that’s how blaming works, that’s how shouting works, how harsh criticism works. If you cut that side off, then it’s already helped a lot and it cannot harm you.
“That’s my advice to the players. The rest, I don’t really understand enough the need for social media. I know there are some good things for sure, but a lot of things are just not important, and for you, as a person, if you can cut them off then it’s already a step in the right direction.”
Liverpool face Aston Villa on Saturday looking to avenge their remarkable 7-2 defeat last October while also putting pressure on the teams in the Premier League top four.
Klopp sees the Villa clash and the second leg against Madrid as a chance to show they deserve to be in the Champions League, both this season and next.
“There is no opportunity without pressure,” he said. “We are at the highest level of professional football, we want to fight for the Champions League, both qualifying for next year and being a part of it still for this year.
“A week ago we, spoke about a wonderful game we played against Arsenal, a great game of football. A few days later we played pretty much the opposite of a great game against Real Madrid, but this game shouldn’t have any influence on the Aston Villa game.”
7 – Liverpool are the first reigning English top-flight champions to ship seven goals in a league match since Arsenal against Sunderland in September 1953. Embarrassed. #AVLLIV pic.twitter.com/CAnLAPG7b5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 4, 2020
Klopp admitted it was difficult to move on from their thrashing by Villa in the previous meeting, in which the champions conceded seven goals for the first time since April 1963.
“You cannot put a game like this one aside immediately,” he said. “We had to work with it. A lot of problems showed up in that game. Some of the problems we had before, some we never had before.
“You work with results. The higher or more strange a result is, it doesn’t mean it gets more necessary to work with it, but for sure we spoke about it quite frequently.
“It differs, how long it takes me to get over a game. Usually, especially after a win, my mind is immediately at the next game, but we still have to reflect on the last game. I watch these games, and then I know better what happened in the game. I just try to understand why things happen.”
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