Jurgen Klopp says concussion protocols are being taken ‘very seriously’

Jurgen Klopp and James Milner
James Milner took a knock to the head against Napoli on Tuesday

Jurgen Klopp said concussion protocols are being taken “really seriously” after revealing James Milner will miss Sunday’s league game against Tottenham.

Milner, 36, had to be substituted early in the second half after picking up a head injury during the Liverpool game. 2-0 Champions League win on Tuesday.

The Reds boss said Milner reported a problem when the players returned to the pitch after half-time.

“No one wants to push a player with concussion,” Klopp said.

“It’s difficult, it’s not that easy because you need two sources, one is the doctor, one is the patient.

“For me it was clear, he had real control on the pitch and he was fine when it happened.

“In the dressing room at our meeting, ‘Millie’ was completely fine and after she calmed down, she stepped into the spotlight and was like, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’

“He understood and then that’s the most important source, the player understood ‘this is not good’ and then we stopped and he sat down and we took him out.”

“If a doctor feels he’s not well, then he’s gone straight away, there’s no way the player can say, ‘No, I’m fine.’

After Tuesday’s game, Klopp initially said midfielder Milner “seems to be fine” having suffered the first-half head knock.

This week, the Professional Footballers’ Association renewed calls for temporary concussion replacements, saying current protocols are “Compromising player safety.”

Football’s governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, was asked to make changes ahead of the season.

Premier League rules allow for an additional permanent concussion that replaces the normal five substitutions if a player suffers a head injury, but there is currently no provision in European football.

Milner’s injury comes after Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez suffered a blow to the head in an accidental collision with team-mate Tyrone Mings at Newcastle on Saturday.

The Argentine initially stayed on and received long-term treatment before being substituted shortly afterwards. Villa said all protocols for medical treatment were followed, and Martinez later showed delayed concussion symptoms.

Klopp said that while he is happy with the current concussion guidelines, he also admitted that finding better ways to deal with head injuries is not easy.

“It takes a long time between the concussion and the start, I’m not sure 15 minutes is the time to wait,” he said.

“People tell you that after an hour it starts. The way we do it I think is the right way.

“It doesn’t happen that often, to be 100% honest. We can talk about it like it’s happening all the time and the boys are constantly in danger, but it’s not.

“But if it happens, we have a solution for it, much better than ever in the history of football. Is there room for improvement? Probably. But I don’t know how.”

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