Jurgen Klopp insists his comments on the Africa Cup of Nations were meant to be ‘ironic’ and says he has been misunderstood when discussing the tournament.
Klopp was discussing the upcoming loss of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for the mid-season tournament, which will run from January 9 to February 6 and see the trio miss up to eight fixtures for Liverpool.
Following the Reds’ resounding 4-0 win over Arsenal at the weekend, Klopp said: “In January, there’s a little tournament in Africa, England is playing games – South America as well, can’t wait.”
Following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday night, it was pointed out to the German that his comments could have come across as offensive to African football.
“I didn’t mean it like that!I don’t know why you understand it like that. Come on…” he said at his post-match press conference.
Klopp was asked whether he would like to apologise to Africa, but instead took issue with the media for making ‘something more of it’ after misunderstanding his comments.
“What I meant was – I said there’s no international break until March. A little tournament in January, I just meant it’s ironic. A big one, we lose our best players for the tournament.
“I am not a native speaker but if you want to misunderstand me, it was not my intention. You made something more of it. That is not too cool.”