Mona Nemmer recalls ‘overwhelming’ Champions League triumph as Liverpool look to kick-start second half of their season

Mona Nemmer recalls ‘overwhelming’ Champions League triumph as Liverpool look to kick-start second half of their season
Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League final football match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid on June 1, 2019. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 18 February 2023

Mona Nemmer recalls ‘overwhelming’ Champions League triumph as Liverpool look to kick-start second half of their season

Mona Nemmer recalls ‘overwhelming’ Champions League triumph as Liverpool look to kick-start second half of their season
  • Head of nutrition at Anfield reveals behind-the-scenes work that has contributed to success of Jurgen Klopp’s team over recent years

Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside Derby last Monday night may not have fixed all their recent problems overnight, but it certainly changed the complexion of their season ahead of an important few weeks that will include a double-header against Real Madrid, and before that an important Premier League match against Newcastle.

The Champions League has always been a special competition for the Reds, and Jurgen Klopp’s team has in recent years been responsible for one of the club’s six triumphs, and three of their 10 finals.

A pillar of the club’s backroom staff over the past seven years has been Mona Nemmer, who as the club’s head of nutrition would become part of the revolution that her compatriot Klopp set in motion when he joined in 2015.

Nemmer recalls the day all of the hard work behind the scenes finally came to fruition; the 2-0 win over Tottenham that clinched the 2019 Champions League final at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.

Above, Liverpool’s head of nutrition Mona Nemmer. (Supplied)

“I think there was a moment where no one really could digest and understand and take in what is really happening,” said Nemmer at the Liverpool FC Store in Dubai Mall on a recent trip to the UAE. “For me, it took me weeks and months to actually understand, and I’m not really sure if I’ve understood it by now. It was such an overwhelming situation, so unique, so historic. I’m just super grateful being part of it.”

Nemmer joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2016, and Klopp has often cited her as one of his best signings at Liverpool.

“So when I arrived we already had a good basic setup, and I was in this lucky position that I got the full trust and power to develop it,” she said. “Jurgen and the ownership said you have a white canvas here. So you were the expert, let’s see what we have to do, and over these seven years it has been an amazing journey so far.”

“We have established so many things, we have created a complete department and we have wonderful members of staff. We still have our girls, Caroline (Guest) and Carol (Farrell), they have been there for such a long, long time. They are part of our team, they are part of the heart of the catering team.

“And also our dining room is like a central point in the training ground, it’s a little bit like home, like the best part is starting out in the kitchen. And that’s how we try and live our philosophy there.”

Nemmer has released a book, “A Taste of the Liverpool Way: Recipe for Success,” and says that her role involves keeping up with constant advances in the nutrition and health fields.

“Over the last 10 years, there has been a massive development in nutrition, and it’s super important that we don’t stand still. So there’s too much movement everywhere, when we think about sciences moving on really quickly.

“There is so much more in technology,” she said. “What is moving on, where we can do more from the cooking side, but also more toward typical body composition measurements. And we are in such a lucky position to work for one of the biggest football clubs in the world, so I think (we are) just trying to always hit the benchmark and trying to be a tiny bit ahead. And the Premier League is such a competitive league as well, where we try to always be a tiny bit quicker.”

The season has been a challenging one for Liverpool on and off the pitch, with the World Cup for the first time taking place in the middle of the domestic English and European campaigns.

Nemmer says that while the Liverpool staff kept in touch with their players while they were in Qatar, they also trusted — and worked with — the national teams to ensure the best possible care for them.

“So the wonderful thing is we are really big family, also all over the world, not only in football, but around the nutritionists. We have a very collegial, very open exchange,” Nemmer said. “And it’s the same interests, where we are there for the players, we want to help the players and we have some secrets, but not in that context. So we want to share their match routines, we want to give comfort to the other institutions, what our players do. I think it’s very, very important to stick together because we all work for the same goal.”

Nemmer is keen to highlight that her pivotal role is still part of the team effort.

“It’s so interesting because football is a team sport,” she said. “And it’s the same behind the scenes, with team cooperation, exchange, communication with all the different departments, medical departments, sports science, kitman, player liaison. So everyone is contributing toward it.

“Teamwork makes the dream work, and that’s how we are playing.”