Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp clarified calling Afcon little tournament as the Reds is set to be without key players when the cup begins.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has clarified calling Afcon tournament little insisting it was not in a negative manner.
The Reds will be without Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita when the Afcon begins.
Klopp explained to an offended journalist that his remark – which came after the 4-0 win against Arsenal on Saturday – was a way of expressing his frustration at losing vital players at an important stage of the season.
Replying to a journalist on Saturday, who asked if Klopp was “relieved” they had got through a busy period with “no international break until March”, Klopp laughed and replied: “I’ve heard that so often that there’s no international break until March.
Jurgen Klopp’s words on Afcon.
“In January, there’s a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games, too – South America as well, great, can’t wait.”
While speaking after the Champions League victory against Porto a journalist had said Klopp had insulted the players, fans, people and continent of Africa with the comment, Klopp replied: “I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that.
“It’s not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.
“What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way.
“I said ‘there’s no international break anymore until March’ and I said: ‘Oh and there’s a little tournament in January,’ and I didn’t mean a little tournament, just like you say it when there’s still a tournament. It’s ironic. There’s still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I’m not a native speaker, but if you want to understand me wrong you can do that all the time. I know that I would never think like this. I never understand why you thought like this to be honest, but that’s really not OK, because I would never do that, but that’s it now.
“It was not my intention, but you made something of it. That’s not so cool as well to be 100 per cent honest.”