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Klopp falls into a heated exchange with journalist over AFCON comments

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Jurgen Klopp will be losing some of his best Liverpool players as they will fly to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

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Jurgen Klopp was caught in the crossfire of an angry journalist regarding his comments about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Previously, the Liverpool manager has described AFCON as a “little tournament”, as some of his top players will be unavailable for duty. Yes, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane among others will not be available for a few weeks in January as they take part in the African competition.

After Liverpool defeated Porto in the Champions League, journalist Ojora Babatunde pointed out Klopp’s comments regarding AFCON.

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Here’s what the reporter said: “Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you called the Africa Cup of Nations a ‘little tournament’. I think it’s an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people. And I think you owe the continent an apology.”

Klopp replied with: “Stop, stop stop. I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that to be honest. 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.”

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Babatunde’s unhappy response was: “You wouldn’t say that in Europe, you wouldn’t say a “little tournament in Europe.”

On that, the Reds manager said: “I am 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 OK as I would never do that.”

“It was not my intention but you made something [more] of it, so that is not so cool to be 100 per cent honest.”

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