Publication:

The Mail on Sunday - 2021-11-21

Data:

I am sick of rivals targeting Sadio, says Klopp

Football

By Ian Whittell

LIVERPOOL manager Jurgen Klopp leaped to the defence of Sadio Mane after accusing Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff of trying to get his striker booked. The two managers were booked in the first half of Liverpool’s 4-0 win after a fiery confrontation which was only stopped by fourth official Andrew Madley and coaches from both benches. The incident was sparked by a Mane foul on Takehiro Tomiyasu which Arsenal’s bench clearly felt warranted a booking and which led to Klopp’s furious counter-reaction. Klopp said: ‘The situation is that it was a completely clean situation. Nothing happened. Two players jumped in the air, somebody touched the other, like a foul and the bench of Arsenal was going for a yellow. I said, “what do you want for that”? There is no contact really but it looked like everybody wanted a yellow card. ‘I’m sick of this situation. Everybody tries to go for Sadio in these moments. He’s a physical player but he doesn’t make harsh fouls. You might remember last year against Real Madrid, he was completely taken out of the game and he didn’t do anything but he got a yellow card and the referee said, “you do one more thing”… ‘Against Atletico, I had to take him off because of that. It’s just not right. That’s just what I said in that situation.’ Arteta claimed both managers were representing their players’ interests. He said: ‘He was trying to defend his side, I was trying to defend mine. That’s it. It was just an action. I try to defend my players and that’s what I did.’ The flashpoint seemed to breathe new energy and atmosphere into Anfield, with the game scoreless at the time and with Arsenal apparently doing a good job of soaking up Liverpool pressure. Klopp denied, however, that his booking had been a deliberate ploy to ignite the crowd. He said: ‘It was not the plan but if helped it was OK but it won’t happen all the time. It doesn’t happen very often any more that I have arguments on the sideline. ‘It was not the most controlled game but not the most exciting so maybe the crowd needed some help and it pushed the team again, but it won’t happen all the time.’ Arteta added: ‘They were better than us for 96 minutes. They’ve been together for six years and you could see the difference the moment we lost control of the game.’

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