Football: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, James Milner speak out against Super League

Liverpool football star James Milner has been the first major player to speak out against the planned European Super League.

The former England international captained his side to a 1-1 draw away at Leeds United on a night when passionate football fans expressed their anger in a pre-match protest.

Twelve of Europe's biggest clubs have confirmed their entry into the proposed 20-team 

competition, including English heavyweights Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City. 

The league would see all founding teams locked into the competition every season, with five existing places allocated through a qualification process. 

Club supporters and former players from all around Europe have widely condemned the proposal, with Manchester United great Gary Neville calling for the clubs in question to be stripped of their EPL points.

Milner has told Sky Sports UK he hopes the competition fails to get off the ground.

"It broke yesterday and that’s the first we heard of it," he says of the Super League. "There’s a lot of questions. 

“In my personal opinion, I don’t like it and hopefully, it doesn’t happen, probably for the same reasons that everyone else has been talking about over the last day. 

“Obviously, it’s been difficult for us, with the game, and we’d try to prepare for the game, but I can only imagine what’s been said about it and I’d probably agree with most of it.

"The players don’t have a say, so the welcome we got to the ground tonight felt a bit unjust, because we’re here to play football and have no control of it, but we need to get on the field and finish the season strong."

The Liverpool players were booed and heckled - not only Leeds supporters, but some of their own - as they entered Ellen Road in Yorkshire. 

Manager Jurgen Klopp believes the breakaway league could ruin football in Europe, but also stresses he and his players have no control of the situation. 

"We got some information, not a lot, and it’s a tough one," Klopp says. "People are not happy with that, I can understand that.

"We were not involved in these processes, as a manager or as players.

"The most important part of football are the supporters and the team.

"And we have to make sure that nothing gets in-between that. I heard they pulled banners down at Anfield, and I don't understand that because the players did not do anything wrong,

"I have no issues with the Champions League. 

“I like the fact West Ham may play in the Champions League next year. I like that they have that chance.

"The most important part of a football club is the supporters and the team. Nothing can get between that. 

“The players didn't do anything wrong. We want to qualify for the Champions League next year.

"I understand [the fans' anger]. I don't know exactly why the 12 clubs did it. 

Klopp says of the locked-out format: "The one thing I cannot understand is competitiveness. 

"I don't like it if we don't qualify for the Champions League, but if we earn it, that is right."

Former Liverpool skipper Jamie Carragher says fans and pundits need to relaise it's not the players and the club at fault - it's their billionaire owners who have pulled the trigger on the Super League.

"What I would say is this is not Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City," Carragher tells Sky Sport UK.

"This is John Henry and FSG, Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour, Malcolm Glazer, Stan Kronke, Daniel Levy, these are the people to blame for this.

"What they're doing is dragging institutions that we've seen in this country for more than a hundred years, basically through the mud, burning the history of what those clubs are about.

"From my own club's point of view, the only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance to be in it, is because they've won six European Cups and 20 titles - only one each have come from FSG.

"They used Liverpool's history, going back to Bill Shankly and before that, to get into the league and line their own pockets.

"The biggest thing for me and the football world, in terms of everybody being against it tonight, Jurgen Klopp has spoken on this in 2019 and made his stance very clear.

"If Liverpool lose their manager on the back of this in the next 12 months or so, those owners will be run out of the club in a week, I can assure you of that.

"This ownership bought Liverpool on the back of other American owners running the club badly, and the fans got them out.

"They got the club for a steal, it's now worth six or seven times more. They've made their money, they've won the lottery with Liverpool. My message to everyone is that I think these clubs think this is a deal, it's done. I don't think it is.

"I think supporters up and down this country can fix this. I think at the forefront of that will be Liverpool, because I've seen it before.

"We have tribalism in this country, rivalry, that's what makes the game. Football fans get together, all of us, in TV, pundits, players, managers, and stop this - it can be stopped, I'm convinced of it.

"Going forward, I think what we need is marches on stadiums, supporters getting together; this cannot be allowed to happen."