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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.


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.


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.”


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.”