The people love a storyline, and the big one that came out of Liverpool’s last Champions League victory against Atletico Madrid was their manager, Diego Simeone, refusing to shake Jurgen Klopp’s hand after the match ended. The post-match handshake is a tradition meant to show good sportsmanship, but also serves as a barometer for how angry a manager is by the final scoreline.
When Liverpool scored a narrow and late win at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Simeone ignored the custom and ran down the tunnel instead, clearly frustrated.
Now as the Argentine comes to Anfield on Wednesday, both managers were asked to rehash the incident.
Simeone derided the practice as false saying, “I don’t like the handshake greetings after the match as they are the emotions of two different sides in different emotional minds. So I don’t like that greeting after the match. I know in the UK it is a custom and all about chivalry, but I don’t share it and I don’t like the falseness. So I behave as I feel.
“I don’t know Klopp as a person, but he is a great coach and has been great everywhere he has been. I don’t give an opinion on other teams, we are coaches and we all have to respect that.”
As for Klopp, who is no stranger himself to spontaneous anger during and after matches, the Liverpool boss brushed off the incident that took up so many digital column inches two weeks ago.
“I respect him a lot,” said Klopp. “We don’t know each other but I respect what he is doing at Atletico, absolutely exceptional against strong sides year after year. Really impressive. The handshake? If I knew he doesn’t do it, then I wouldn’t try it. We were both emotional [after the game in Madrid] but now I know he doesn’t like to do it, so no problem.”
So there we go. It’s obvious that both men are ready to put that small interaction behind them and focus on the match instead.