Marcus Rashford: Jurgen Klopp 'couldn't respect' Manchester United forward more

"It really shows that a person - not alone - but with his name and his effort can change really important things," says Liverpool boss

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Jurgen Klopp speaks to Soccer Saturday ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has shown footballers have the ability to use their platform to "change really important things".

Rashford this week successfully campaigned for the government to make a U-turn and extend its free school meals voucher scheme over the summer holidays - a change of policy that will benefit 1.3m children in the UK.

Klopp, speaking to Soccer Saturday ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby against Everton, said: "Marcus Rashford, I have to say, I couldn't respect more what you did - it's unbelievable.

"It's a bit of a shame you had to do it, but still unbelievable that you did it. It really shows that a person - not alone - but with his name and his effort can change really important things. We are all part of society and we are all involved in that."

Society can learn from football on racism

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Tottenham and Manchester United players took the knee in support of Black Lives Matter ahead of their Premier League match

The death of George Floyd - an unarmed black man who died in police custody in the United States in May - has sparked protests around the world and the Premier League has followed suit in showing its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The start of every game since Wednesday's return to action has seen all players and officials take a knee before kicking off, while names have been replaced by 'Black Lives Matter' on the back of shirts.

Klopp believes society should look to football and follow its lead with regard to how the game handles racism.

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"I think equality should be in all parts of society, not just in football," he added. "You can see at each level there are so many smart people out there and the last thing you should look for is the colour of someone's skin.

"Being smart has nothing to do with your skin colour, it has only to do with who you are and you don't have to be smart you can be likeable, lovable, you can be funny or whatever. It has nothing to do with your skin colour.

"For us in football, it is the most natural thing. I struggle a little bit to talk about it because we live it completely different. For us they are all the same, absolutely the same. So if there is one thing you can learn from football it is this."

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Eni Aluko says the Premier League's support of the Black Lives Matter movement has been powerful, but must continue if it's to influence lasting change

'We've all played football without crowds'

Klopp is hopeful that football has learned some lessons during the coronavirus pandemic, most important of all: "We never want to play behind closed doors again".

The Liverpool boss is hoping the sterile atmosphere of an empty Goodison Park will not deter his players from performing to the top of their game in Sunday's Merseyside derby, live on Sky Sports.

"No one should compare [performances with and without fans] because none of the famous European nights at Anfield would have happened without the supporters," he said.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side are prepared for an unusual Merseyside derby against Everton behind closed doors on Sunday

"You can't comeback - OK you can comeback - but it is not as likely [without fans] and the reason for this habit of things like this happening at Anfield is the crowd of course. There is no doubt about that."

"The holy grail of what you dream to happen in your career is to be in front of a packed stadium and to score a decisive goal in the last second in your home ground," he continued.

"We've known for a while it will not happen like this and you only have to remind yourself a little bit we all started playing football without crowds and we loved the game anyway."

Watch the Premier League with Sky Sports

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Here's a reminder of some of the magic, drama and controversies from the Premier League season so far.... and there's not long to wait until it's back!

Sky Sports are broadcasting 64 live Premier League games for the 2019/20 season resumption. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches are being broadcast on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.

To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports have also launched a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.

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