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Jurgen Klopp clarifies AFCON comments after reporter demands apology


Jurgen Klopp clarifies AFCON comments.

Jurgen Klopp has clarified comments he made about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), after a reporter demanded an apology from him on Wednesday night.

The Liverpool manager was conducting a post-match press conference after his side’s 2-0 Champions League victory over FC Porto when it was put to him that previous comments he made about AFCON were insulting to players, supporters and the continent of Africa.

Jurgen Klopp says he was being “ironic.”

Klopp made the initial comment after Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal at the weekend, after it was put to him that there will be no more international breaks until March, to which he responded: “‘I’ve heard that so often that there’s no international break until March.

“In January, there’s a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games, too – South America as well, great, can’t wait.”

When confronted by a reporter on Wednesday night, the German coach clarified that he was being “ironic” when he used the word “little,” and put the confusion down to the fact that he’s not a native English speaker.

Jurgen Klopp: “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“It’s an insult to the people, an insult to the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology,” Klopp was told before he interjected to get his point across.

“Stop, it’s all good, I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “I don’t know why you understand it like that. It was not even close and not the idea in my mind that I’d want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament or the continent of Africa as a little continent.

“I said ‘there’s a little tournament in January’ and I didn’t mean a little tournament, I just mean like you say it… there’s still a tournament.

“It’s ironic. It’s a big tournament, we lose our best players to AFCON.”

It was then put to Klopp that he wouldn’t have made a similar comment about Europe, to which he replied “I’m not a native speaker but if you want to understand me wrong, you can do that all the time.

“I know that I would never think like this. I don’t understand why you thought this, to be honest, but that’s really not okay because I would never do that.

“It was not my intention but you made something more of it. That’s not so cool, to be 100% honest.”

Liverpool set to lose big stars to AFCON.

If Klopp’s comments were indeed lost in translation, it’s still clear that he would rather the AFCON wasn’t taking place.

He spoke last week about his disdain for international breaks and with Liverpool set to lose Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane for up to a month, the tournament is sure to disrupt Klopp’s plans during a busy period of the season.

The rearranged 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will take place in Cameroon from January 9th until February 6th 2022.

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