Klopp explains calling AFCON a "little tournament" as reporter demands apology

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at an angry reporter who asked him to apologise for calling the Africa Cup of Nations a "little tournament" following a previous press conference chat about international breaks.

Klopp was speaking after Liverpool continued their perfect Champions League record with a 2-0 win over Porto that left them 10 points clear at the top of Group B.

Despite Thiago Alcantara being joined by Mohamed Salah on the scoresheet in a routine victory, one topic in the post-match media session was about a future tournament.

Klopp was asked to apologise for a jibe he made about the upcoming showpiece, having said in jest that there was the 'small' matter of losing some of his best players in the middle of the season.

The reporter asked: "Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you deliberately 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 on the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology."

Klopp replied after asking the reporter to stop: "I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean it like that, I don't know why you understand it like that to be honest…"

The journalist then added: "That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said."

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With a defensive Klopp saying: "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 is, if you watch the full press conference then you might have understood it the right way and you could have understood it in the right way, 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 something you say and… it's still a tournament, it's ironic. It's still a tournament, a big one. We lose our best players to that AFCON…"

The reporter then said: "But you wouldn't say that in Europe, you wouldn't say a 'little tournament in Europe'…"

With Klopp concluding: "I am not a native speaker but if you want to understand me wrong, you can do that all the time. I really don't…

"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. But that is it now.

"It was not my intention but you made something of it, so that is not so cool to be 100 per cent honest."

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