Jurgen Klopp has not apologised for his recent comments on the Africa Cup of Nations, instead blaming the media for taking his comments out of context.
The Reds manager recently commented on the fact he will lose two of his most important players in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to international duty when they participate in the tournament in January.
Egyptian and Senegalese internationals respectively, both stars will miss a number of crucial games at the turn of the year.
Talking after his side ran riot against Arsenal on Saturday evening, Klopp told the press: “In January, there’s a little tournament in Africa, England is playing games – South America as well, can’t wait.”
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Backlash quickly followed, with many accusing Klopp’s sarcastic comments as being disrespectful to African football.
However, the Reds boss has since issued an update on his comments from the weekend, though he stopped short of apologising – instead laying the blame at the door of reporters.
Speaking after the Reds’ 2-0 Champions League home win over FC Porto, Liverpool’s manager bemoaned: “I didn’t mean it like that! I don’t know why you understand it like that. Come on…”
Klopp was then asked if he would apologise to Africa as a continent, to which he replied: “I didn’t call it a ‘little continent’.
“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.”
Liverpool staff and fans alike will undoubtedly be concerned over how the absences of both Salah and Mane could impact their fine form.
Klopp’s side currently sit third in the Premier League, breathing down the necks of Chelsea and Man City who are above them in first and second respectively.
Liverpool’s impressive Premier League form has been largely inspired by the heroics of Salah and Mane, with the former in particular enjoying a stunning vein of form.
Across all competitions, Salah has found the back of the net on 17 separate occasions this term, eleven coming in the league.
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
The Egyptian was on the scoresheet yet again at Anfield on Wednesday evening, bagging the second goal of the night to keep yet another impressive run going for Klopp’s side.
Salah’s goal ensured Liveropol have scored two or more goals for 16 games running.
Mane has also been in incredible form, his seven league goals accompanied by two strikes in Europe so far – both will be sorely missed come the new year.