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Rainbow Laces: Jurgen Klopp explains why he backs LGBTQ+ inclusion campaign in chat with Liverpool Women's Meikayla Moore

Liverpool host Southampton in Rainbow Laces fixture in Premier League on Saturday; Klopp explains to Liverpool Women's Meikayla Moore how awareness campaign has had impact on his understanding of allyship; Jordan Henderson writes in programme notes that he is 'proud' to be seen as an ally

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In support of the Rainbow Laces campaign, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp caught up with LFC Women defender Meikayla Moore for a chat over a coffee about being LGBTQ+ in football and the importance of allyship (video courtesy of LFC TV)

Jurgen Klopp says he is the "perfect example" of how Rainbow Laces helps to raise awareness about inclusion.

In a conversation with Liverpool Women centre-back Meikayla Moore, filmed at the club's Melwood training group by LFC TV, the Reds manager discusses the campaign and explains how it has inspired him to be an active ally for LGBTQ+ people like her.

New Zealand international Moore, who joined the FA Women's Championship club in August 2020, tells Klopp that his support "means everything", particularly to those from a younger generation who love Liverpool and who may be struggling with their sexuality or gender identity.

"I really love Rainbow Laces, every year when it happens," Klopp says to Moore.

"I'm a perfect example for it - how the awareness level changes from the moment you put them in."

As an ally, it's so important for us to have people like you who are in our corners and standing behind us.
Meikayla Moore, talking to Jurgen Klopp

The campaign's theme for 2021 is 'Lace Up and Speak Up' and Klopp has often been seen wearing the laces in his trainers during its annual activation since he joined Liverpool six years ago.

He explains to Moore how the visibility of the initiative has helped him understand more about the importance of being an ally.

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"I'm 54, I've been through a lot of periods in my life but a lot of problems I've never had," he adds.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Rainbow Laces

"I have so many gay friends but I never thought about how it was when they had to say, 'by the way, mum, dad' - and to everyone else - 'I'm not exactly how you expected, maybe'.

"That's a challenge we shouldn't face, in the way we face it in our life.

"So I'm completely in. It's a great campaign, I have to say, and it looks good!"

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Rainbow Laces

Moore, 25, wears laces as "an out and proud footballer" and to let others know that should they need help or guidance, they can reach out to her.

"In women's football, I've been very fortunate that being LGBTQ+ is not as unusual as in the men's game. It's very accepted and the community is very strong," she says.

"But I think for the entirety of football, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done, especially on the men's side, just to make it a platform that it's accepted and that it's OK to be who you are and be true to yourself."

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Meikayla Moore of Liverpool Women during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match between Liverpool Women and Aston Villa Women at Prenton Park on October 13, 2021 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Image: Moore in action for Liverpool in the Continental Cup earlier this season

Liverpool host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, in what is the club's dedicated Rainbow Laces fixture.

Klopp will wear laces again on the touchline, and Moore tells him: "As an ally, it's so important for us to have people like you who are in our corners and standing behind us.

"The biggest thing you can do is listen, support and educate yourself if you don't know, because that's an area that a lot more people can maybe place more attention on.

"It's educating because, at the end of the day, we're all people, we're all humans, we're all doing the same thing, we're all kicking a ball around. Your support means everything."

Watch Jurgen Klopp's Rainbow Laces chat with Meikayla Moore in full on Liverpool FC's YouTube channel.

Henderson 'proud' to be seen as an ally

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson says that he shares Klopp's sentiments towards the campaign.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of the clash with Southampton at Anfield, the England international - who scored for his country while wearing Rainbow Laces during Euro 2020 - believes football is making progress on LGBTQ+ inclusion but that more can be done.

Ukraine v England - UEFA Euro 2020 - Quarter Final - Stadio Olimpico
England's Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2020 Quarter Final match at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Picture date: Saturday July 3, 2021.
Image: Jordan Henderson, wearing Rainbow Laces, celebrates at the Stadio Olimpico after scoring for England against Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals

"I can only really speak for myself when I say that it has made an impact in raising my own awareness on the subject," wrote Henderson. "Each season when it comes around, it makes me stop and think about how much further football in particular needs to go before the game can consider itself properly inclusive.

"Be it those who play or people who come to support, you don't have to look very far to see that there is a lot more the game can do, in this country, to be more welcoming."

In his notes, the 31-year-old also addressed the issue of homophobic chanting. Back in August, Klopp urged Liverpool supporters not to sing 'Chelsea rent boy' at opposition players after Billy Gilmour - on loan at Norwich - was targeted during the club's win at Carrow Road.

"Here at LFC, we have seen this season that members of our own supporter base were made to feel unwelcome because some of our fans sang a historical chant which is homophobic. We know this because they had the courage to tell us.

Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League - Anfield
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson wears a rainbow coloured captain's armband in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. 6 December 2020
Image: Henderson wore a rainbow captain's armband during Liverpool's Rainbow Laces game against Wolves last season

"I still remember the statement made by Paul Amann, founder of Kop Outs, when speaking to Jurgen about it. He said it made him feel like a bucket of cold water had been poured over him, like You'll Never Walk Alone meant nothing.

"I've since heard that raising awareness around this issue has meant when some fans have tried to sing or shout something homophobic at a game, other supporters now intervene and tell them it's wrong. That's how we progress. By showing that level of solidarity and by drawing a line.

"I've said already I don't feel worthy of being classed as an ally on this subject, but I am incredibly proud to be regarded as one."

Rainbow Laces 2021 logo graphic

Sky Sports is a member of TeamPride which supports Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign, back for its annual activation from November 25 to December 12. Your story of being LGBTQ+ or an ally could help to make sport everyone's game - please contact us here to discuss further.

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