Liverpool legend John Barnes has suggested Jurgen Klopp would have been sacked as Reds manager during his first two years in charge if he had been black.
Klopp has restored the glory days to Anfield by masterminding glory in both the Champions League and Premier League, with last year’s top-flight triumph a first for 30 years.
But there was no immediate success for the German who finished eighth in his first season in charge after taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October 2015.
They did reach both the Europa League and EFL Cup final, however, and finished fourth in the following campaign to secure a return to Europe’s top table.
But Barnes, who starred at Anfield between 1987 and 1997, says Klopp would have lost his job ‘under different circumstances’.
Speaking about discrimination in football following Greg Clarke’s resignation as FA Chairman, Barnes told PlayOJO: “You can put structures in place, but until you change your perception, nothing will change.
“I use Klopp as an example. How successful was he really in the first two years in terms of being 25 points off the top? But we [ Liverpool ] believed that he was the right man.
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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“Under different circumstances, he would have lost his job. If he was black, he would have lost his job in those first two years.”
Barnes also suggested English managers have it tougher than their foreign counterparts, with Frank Lampard the only Englishman currently in charge of one of the so-called ‘Big Six’.
“If he [Klopp] was English, he would have lost his job,” added the 57-year-old former England international.
“This is where the idea of discrimination is a little bit strange because there’s a group of people who are discriminated against in English football and the very highest level in the Premier League.
“Now, the top six teams will not have a white English manager.
“Yes, you can say Frank Lampard, as people have pointed out, but that’s because he has a special bond with Chelsea and that’s the only reason he managed Chelsea – but under different circumstances he wouldn’t have got that job.”
Mirror.co.uk has approached Liverpool for comment.