A total of six Liverpool players, including Cody Gakpo and Nat Phillips, are ‘banned’ from touching the ‘This is Anfield’ sign, according to a Jurgen Klopp rule.
He was accused of failing to understand the rivalry between both clubs.
The Dutchman went on to explain that his only intention was to “wind up” Virgil van Dijk before kick-off. “From the National team I know that Virgil always touches that sign and I went to stop him touching it to try and wind him up before the game,” he said in a statement.
“As a child I always supported FC Twente, and as a proud player for Manchester United, my dedication to this incredible club can never be questioned.”
Back in February, ahead of the Merseyside derby, eagle-eyed viewers spotted new signing Cody Gakpo touching the iconic sign – a ritual that is technically off-limits.
In his early days as Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp asked his players to not touch the sign until they had lifted a trophy.
“I’ve told my players not to touch the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign until they win something,” he said at the start of his reign at Anfield.
“It’s a sign of respect.”
Klopp also mentioned that he touched the sign when he was manager of Borussia Dortmund and they lost 4-0.
So, which players from Liverpool’s current squad cannot touch the sign? Gakpo, who joined the club in January from PSV Eindhoven, has yet to win a piece of silverware, meaning he technically isn’t allowed to.
Summer signings Calvin Ramsay and Arthur Melo, the midfielder that is currently on loan at the Premier League club from Juventus, are also ‘banned’ from performing the gesture.
The final three are Nat Phillips, Stefan Bajcetic and Rhys Williams.
Back in 2020, Liverpool midfielder Thiago revealed that club legend Fernando Torres told him the importance of not touching the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign upon his arrival.
He said: “As I heard once from Fernando Torres, this remains heavily the place we passed by for a couple of years, four more years,” Thiago said while looking up at the sign.
“And to touch this symbol we have to deserve it and to win all the trophies we can and so that’s why today I will not [touch the sign]. I will respect this tradition.”