'I would hate myself' - Liverpool boss Klopp dismisses Manchester City's 'xenophobia' claims after Anfield flashpoints
- Klopp discussed City's financial power last week
- City sources suggested comments were xenophobic
- Clubs' relationship further strained after Reds' victory on Sunday
WHAT HAPPENED? Klopp had caused a stir when discussing City's power in a press conference ahead of the sides' meeting at Anfield last week. He claimed the Premier League champions were one of three clubs in world football who could "do what they want, financially," and that Liverpool were unable to compete as a result.
Sunday's game was marred by a number of off-field incidents, with objects thrown at City boss Pep Guardiola, and chants referencing the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters emanating from the away end. City also say their team bus was damaged leaving Anfield, and club sources suggested to one national newspaper that Klopp's pre-match comments, described as "borderline xenophobic" may have inflamed an already tense atmosphere in and around the stadium.
WHAT THEY SAID: Asked about the suggestion from City of xenophobia, Klopp told reporters on Tuesday: "In this specific case, I don’t feel it at all. I know myself and you cannot hit me with something which is miles away from my personality. If I were like this, I would hate myself for being like this. A lot of times when I have said things they were a little bit open for misunderstanding, I know that but not intentionally. Sometimes you say something and then later you realise ‘oh my God’, but this is not one of these moments. It was not."
Klopp was then asked about the idea that he had been effectively 'put on trial' by City, with his words deliberately twisted to prevent further discussion about the financial dealings of the Premier League champions. "Obviously not all of you journalists see it the same way," he replied. "Some chief writers see it differently. It’s a global world, and you can have different views. That is how it is. Nothing more to say."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Liverpool say they will work with Manchester City, and with the relevant authorities, to identify those responsible, both for the throwing of objects and for the offensive chants and graffiti in the away end concourse at Anfield. City are yet to issue a public statement with regards to Sunday's events. Liverpool's 1-0 win moved them to within 10 points of Guardiola's side with a game in hand, which will be played against West Ham on Wednesday.
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WHAT NEXT FOR KLOPP? Klopp is expected to be in the dugout for Wednesday's game with West Ham despite being sent off for his aggressive conduct towards assistant referee Gary Beswick during Sunday's game. He could yet serve a touchline ban, however, with the FA set to decide this week.