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05-Jun-2020, 11:56 pm

'I was really proud' - Klopp salutes Liverpool stars for backing Black Lives Matter movement

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp said he felt overwhelmed with pride when his Liverpool players took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Reds boss spoke of themulticultural representation within his squad and how it was the players who decided on Monday they should group together to show theirsupport for protestors.

The death ofGeorge Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week in police custodyhas ignited debate and sparked demonstrations in the United States and beyond. Calls for an end to institutional racism and for social change have been heard in cities worldwide.

Liverpool's players, like a number ofsports stars with a platform, took the opportunity to show their support. In their case, theywent down on one knee around the Anfield centre circle before training on Monday.

Taking the knee has been a symbolof a protest against racial inequality and police brutality in the United States, most powerfully demonstrated by American footballer Colin Kaepernick during his NFL career.

Klopp told German broadcaster Sky Sport: "For us, dealing with each other and Black Lives Matter is very natural - especially if you look at our team: we have players from Africa, from England and so on with a corresponding background.It is already so natural for us that at first we didn't even think about sending a message.

"But then the boys were struck.Then they spontaneously decided on this action.I've been very proud of the guys for a long time, but that was another extraordinary moment. When I saw them there and this picture was taken. Then I was really proud because it is also an important message."

Senior players including Virgil van Dijk, James Milner, Joe Gomez, AndrewRobertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold tweeted the same photograph of the squad along with the words 'Unity is strength',which also included the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.

Several other leading footballers have also shown their support for the protests. Borussia Dortmundstar Jadon Sancho celebrated the first of three goals against Paderborn last Sunday by revealing a t-shirt with the message 'Justice for George Floyd'.

He later wrote on Twitter:"First professional hat trick. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd."

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