Speaking to the press after Liverpool FC’s 2-0 victory over Porto, manager Jürgen Klopp clarified his comments from the weekend about the Africa Cup of Nations. The manager had previously stated that there was just the small matter of the competition taking place in the new year as a response to a journalist who suggested he must be happy there were no more international breaks on the horizon.
“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.”
If you missed the commotion online (mostly on the shouty bird app), Klopp got into some heat after some particularly disingenous commentators deliberately misconstrued the comment as a slight towards Africa the continent and its showpiece tournament despite it seeming quite clear he was just having a good-natured dig at his own predictment and the reporter’s misstep in suggesting there was no further international football until March.
That was all rather obvious, given how Liverpool’s potential AFCON woes have been the subject of much speculation even before the season started. It makes even less sense given Klopp’s vocal history of recognising how important it is to his players to represent their countries.
In any case, now that Klopp has clarified his comments, Liverpool are still set to lose Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita when the African Cup of Nations gets underway in January.