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Jurgen Klopp was asked to apologise for a comment he made about the African Cup of Nations by an angry journalist, after the Liverpool boss sarcastically referred to it as a 'little tournament.'
If anyone knows the magnitude of AFCON it is surely Klopp, who will lose two of his best players in the shape of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for up to a month, as well as Naby Keita.
Last week the Liverpool boss was talking about the fact there was no international football again until March, following the November games, until he remembered the tournament in Cameroon.
Sarcastically the Reds boss referred to it as a 'little tournament,' but one African reporter was obviously riled up about the description and took the German to task.
Following Liverpool's 2-0 win over Porto on Wednesday night, which featured Thiago's sumptuous strike, Klopp was called on to apologise by a journalist in the post match press conference, but the 54-year-old explained what he meant in a fiery converstion.
🗣 "I said there's a little tournament in January, I didn't mean a little tournament, it's ironic."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 25, 2021
Things got heated between Jurgen Klopp and reporter who demanded an apology from the manager after he called AFCON a "little tournament" pic.twitter.com/jLhe5jBx4u
"Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you deliberately called the Africa Cup of Nations a "little tournament," Paris based journalist Ojora Babatunde said, questioning the Liverpool manager.
"I think it's an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people on the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology."
After Klopp insisted that's not what he meant, Babatunde again insisted it was an insult, adding, "That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said."
And the former Borussia Dortmund boss was finally given the chance to explain himself, saying, "I didn't mean it like that, come on.
"So I was not even close to it being the idea in my mind that I want to talk about the African Cup of Nations as a "little tournament" or the continent of Africa as a little continent, not at all.
"What I meant was, if you watch the whole press conference then you might have understood it the right way if you wanted to, because I said there are no international breaks until March now.
"I said 'oh there's a little tournament in January' and I didn't mean a little tournament, I was just saying it's still a tournament, it's ironic. It's still a tournament, a big one. We lose our best players to that tournament..."
The tournament, which was originally meant to be held last year, will kick off on January 9th and runs for nearly a month until February 6th.
Should their teams get to the final, then Salah and Mane would miss three Premier League games and potentially two rounds of the FA Cup.
With the title race a potentially close one this season it could make a major difference to their chances of catching Chelsea at the top of the table.
Klopp definitely knows there's nothing little about the tournament because of the impact on his team, and what it means to his players to play for their country.
Featured Image Credit: PA/Football Daily
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