Jurgen Klopp says there is no reason for Liverpool and Manchester City to be ‘best friends’ after tensions flared over the weekend.
Liverpool manager Klopp insisted he didn’t want to stoke rivalries between the clubs, citing the wealth of Premier League champions City ahead of their game on Sunday, in which his side won 1-0.
“There are three clubs in world football that can do whatever they want financially,” Klopp said two days before the match against City.
Many took it as a reference to City, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, all of which have wealthy owners from the Middle East.
It was reported that City considered Klopp’s comments almost xenophobic, and a brawl at Anfield between the teams escalated into an explosive situation: Klopp was sent off after he lashed out at assistant referee Gary Beswick.
In the stands, too, there were problems: Pep Guardiola was pelted with coins while several City fans sang insulting songs about the disasters at Hillsborough and Hazel stadiums.
“Honestly, I’m not sure we should be best friends with other clubs,” Klopp said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“I don’t think anyone wants to be best friends with us. At least I haven’t heard of it. This is perfectly normal competition.
“But besides, it started here with a question, and I answered it, and everything else was made from that.
“I know what I thought when I said that. I thought I put it all in perspective and said how much I respect everything they do and obviously it still felt wrong for some.
“But most importantly, as a club and as a team, together with our fans, we put on an incredible performance on Sunday.”
Which moment pic.twitter.com/2UIolnTCDB
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 17, 2022
Klopp added: “This is not the first time I’ve been misunderstood.”
He said supporters would be held accountable if they overstepped the bounds. In addition to the incidents at the stadium, City complained that their team bus was attacked as it was leaving Anfield.
“If something happens, if one guy flips a coin, it will be one fan, and this is definitely a serious mistake and will be punished,” Klopp said. “And after the game, if something happens, it will be one fan or maybe two fans, not all.”
Liverpool host David Moyes’ West Ham on Wednesday as they look to bolster what Klopp called a “big” victory over City that came after a rocky start to the season for the Reds.
They are still 14 points behind leaders Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand, so Klopp says the clash with the Hammers is another big event.
“We are at the moment of the season where you realize that from now on they are all finalists,” Klopp said. “I’m not sure you can give games more value than we’ve already invested. This is absolutely essential.
“We respect them very much. They gave us a lot of problems here and there. David does an incredible job.”