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Klopp on Mané Substitution: “I Hated It More Than You Can Imagine”

The goalscorer was frequently targeted by Atletico players in an attempt to even the numbers.

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp has spoken of his reluctance to take Sadio Mane out of the game after the first half. Mane was having himself quite the game, having scored the second goal. However, he was on the receiving end of some weird refereeing decisions and ended up with a booking. The Atletico players kicked at Mane often and also rolled around in an effort to get a red card to even the numbers game. Klopp spoke about the substitution after the game:

“I think everyone in the stadium expected that they would [try and get Sadio sent off].”

“And I thought it was the right thing to do [to bring him off]. I hated it more than you can imagine because Sadio was playing an incredible game.”

“I was not worried that Sadio cannot handle his emotions, he was calm, but the thing is if the ball comes in the air, he challenges and the other player is going down.”

“We all saw what some Madrid players did, just rolling over more and more in these situations, just to equal the number of players again.”

“I didn’t like it, but I think it was the right thing to do.”

“I didn’t see a red card, I saw a yellow card but I saw it back and his foot was high and it hit his Achilles. So it’s a red card. “

“Do I want the other team to go one man down? No. But with the intense schedule, it is important to control the game.”

“I don’t think it changed too much but of course it is a different game.”

“We are in November and we try to get through these games pretty maturely but it didn’t work out as Bobby got injured and that’s not good.”

Having qualified for the knockout stage, Liverpool can rotate widely for the remaining Porto and AC Milan games. Although with €2.8m on the line for each group stage win, anyone expecting a League Cup-style kids roster should temper their expectations.