‘What else shall we do?’ - Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp weighs in on concussion debate as James Milner ruled out

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Football’s approach to dealing with concussion has been questioned again after a string of incidents across the last week.

Jurgen Klopp has questioned what more football can do to deal with concussions after a spate of recent incidents led to a wave of criticism.

Last weekend, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was initially allowed to play on after suffering a sickening blow to the head during his side’s defeat to Newcastle only for dizziness to ultimately force him off.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Liverpool vice-captain James Milner and Tottenham forward Heung-min Son then both suffered potential concussions during midweek Champions League games that will rule them out of the clubs' weekend meeting in the capital.

Unlike in UEFA competitions, the Premier League does allow for concussion substitutes that do not detract from the number of changes a manager can make.

However, the fact that the players involved are not allowed to return to the action even should they be cleared to do so can perhaps lead to managers being reluctant to make use of the rule.

Still, Klopp does not believe the implementation of temporary subs across all competitions would make a huge difference, and is confident that medical teams are currently providing better care for head injuries than ever before.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: "In a high-performance sport on the pitch surrounded by 30, 40, 50, 60,0000 people I think it is difficult enough to do it in a close environment in a medical practice, to figure it out immediately as you need a few tests.

"Two sources doctor and player, everybody takes it seriously. When a player is dizzy he is off the first moment, immediately. Done. When the doctor has a feeling he is not right than he is off.

James Milner limped off during Liverpool’s defeat of Napoli. Picture: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty ImagesJames Milner limped off during Liverpool’s defeat of Napoli. Picture: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
James Milner limped off during Liverpool’s defeat of Napoli. Picture: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

"It is the quickest we can do. What else shall we do? I know you say about temporary subs. I am fine with the concussion sub, take him off and bring on another means you can still change five times after that and the other team has another sub. I think that is the best we can do.

"It takes quite a while between getting the concussion and it kicking in, I am not sure 15 minutes is the time to wait for it. People tell you after an hour it kicks in.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The way we do it I think is the right way. It doesn’t happen that often, to be 100 percent honest, I can’t remember one before. When did we have a concussion before? I can't remember it..

"We can talk about it like it happens all the time and the boys are constantly in danger but they are not. They are well-trained athletes and it doesn't happen that often.

"But if it happens we have a solution for it, much better than ever before in football’s history. Is there space for improvement? Probably. But I don't know how."

Klopp also went on to explain the situation surrounding Milner's withdrawal early in the second half of Liverpool's 2-0 win over Napoli.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: "For me it was clear, he got a real check on the pitch and he was fine when it happened, in the dressing room in our meeting Millie was completely fine and, after calming down, came out into the floodlights and was like 'Woah, what is going on here?'.

"He realised and then that is the most important source, the player realised 'that is not good' and that is when we stopped and he sat down and we took him off.

"I don’t think it can be dealt with differently. If a doctor feels he is not all right, then it he is immediately gone, there is no chance for the player to say 'No, I am fine'.

"Everybody takes it really seriously. Nobody wants to push a player through with a concussion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There is the old story with Mr Clough, was it him, 'How is he?'. 'He's got a knock, he doesn't know who he is'. 'Tell him he is Pele and send him back on!'.

"It is a good joke but we don't do that nowadays. We really take it seriously, that is definitely the case and it was the first moment we knew and then it was 'here we stop'."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.