Jürgen Klopp rejects claims he fuelled tensions before Manchester City game | Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp has rejected claims his comments on the financial power of Gulf state-owned clubs fuelled tensions between Liverpool and Manchester City on Sunday.

Liverpool’s 1-0 win over the Premier League champions was quickly overshadowed by off-field controversies with coins thrown at Pep Guardiola, City fans chanting and writing graffiti in relation to the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters and the visiting team coach being damaged as it left Anfield. The acrimonious fallout extended to anonymous allegations that Klopp’s pre-match comments, about Liverpool being unable to compete with three clubs who can “do what they want” financially, were inflammatory and connected to the unsavoury events at Anfield.

But Klopp, who has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his red card on Sunday, said: “That is the life of people who speak in public. It is not the first time I am misunderstood. I know what I thought when I said it. If someone misunderstands that, or wants to misunderstand that, I cannot change that.

“Do I have to be careful? I have known for years that I am not always careful. I realise as well from time to time that I just answer and say what I think. I try to do that in the future as well because usually it is never my aim to blame anybody or whatever, I just talk about things that I think are not that important in life actually. I say what I know about it, how I judge it or how I see it. I cannot change that. Nothing of the things that were made of it were my intention.”

City have not condemned the chants from their supporters at Anfield. Asked about that silence, and an anonymous allegation that his comments about Gulf state-owned clubs could be construed as xenophobic, the Liverpool manager replied: “This kind of question I would like not to answer. We responded as a club [with a statement about the chants and coin throwing]; that is what we had to do. That’s it. Apart from that everything from a non-native English speaker would be open to misinterpretation again.”

Klopp described Guardiola and Erling Haaland as the best manager and striker in the world respectively on Friday but, on the fractured relationship between Liverpool and City, he admitted: “I am not sure we have to be best friends with other clubs. I am not sure anybody wants to be best friends with us.”

Klopp has until Friday to respond to his FA charge and may be given the option of accepting a one-match ban and fine depending on the nature of the offence.

He revealed that the Portugal international Diogo Jota will miss the World Cup after tearing a calf muscle in the final minutes of Sunday’s win. Jota, who will not require surgery, is the second left-sided attacking option at Liverpool to suffer a serious injury in recent weeks after Luis Díaz. “It is very sad news for the boy, for us and for Portugal,” said Klopp.

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