The Reds manager insists there is no issue with his Senegalese star after he appeared to snub a handshake at Old Trafford on Thursday
Jurgen Klopp has played down his row with Sadio Mane after Liverpool’s win over Manchester United, insisting he is “completely relaxed” about the issue.
Mane was seen snubbing his manager’s attempt at a handshake following the Reds’ 4-1 win at Old Trafford on Thursday.
The Senegal international had, it appears, been disappointed not to have started the game, with Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Mo Salah preferred by Klopp. All three justified their selection, scoring in what could prove a vital victory in the race for Champions League qualification.
What’s been said?
Klopp insisted after the game that there was no issue with Mane, that the issue was merely that he hadn’t had time to explain his decision to start Jota instead of the 29-year-old, and at a press conference ahead of the weekend trip to West Brom, the Reds boss was again able to brush off any suggestion of a rift.
Klopp told reporters: “I cannot make a bigger story of it as it is. Football is an emotional game and everyone expects from us to control our emotions always. It doesn’t work out always, that’s the case.
“It happened to me as a player, it happened to other players when I was their coach. We had so far no real chance to talk about it but we will and there will be nothing left. Everything will be fine.
“Do you want these things to happen? No. But it’s not the first time in my life and I’m afraid to say it won’t be the last time.”
He added: “The thing is, if somebody shows me respect five million times, and one time not, what is more important?
“The world is in this situation where you [the media] make this one time bigger than necessary. That is unfortunately the case, and I hope for you that your boss will not forget, if one time you don’t show him respect, all the other stuff. Even now, I can see the headlines you will make.
“I am completely relaxed about it. If you’d have seen me as a player, what I did out of emotion, it was insane! I’m a completely normal guy, but it happened to me.
“Nothing else. We will talk about and it will be sorted. That’s all.”
Liverpool and the top four
The Reds head to The Hawthorns knowing a win would keep them on track for a top-four finish.
Should the Reds win their remaining three games – away to West Brom and Burnley, and at home to Crystal Palace – they would be in the box seat to pip either Chelsea or Leicester, who meet at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Whatever the outcome of that game, Liverpool know that three wins would give them a great chance of sneaking into the final qualification spot, although it could well come down to goal difference with Leicester, who face Tottenham at home in their final game.
Chelsea, currently fourth and with a Champions League final to prepare for, travel to Aston Villa on the final day.