Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended his comments about the Africa Cup of Nations after he controversially referenced it as a "little tournament" on Saturday.
After of the Reds' win over Mikel Arteta's Arsenal last weekend, the German coach described the upcoming January tournament as a "little" one during a press conference in response to a reporter who had said there was no international football until March next year, with the statement seemingly causing an uproar on social media.
After the Premier League side secured a 2-1 win over FC Porto on Wednesday night, the 54-year-old found himself in a tense back-and-forth exchange with a journalist who felt that Klopp needed to apologise for his remark about the African competition, but the tactician insisted that his comment was taken out of context.
Scroll through the gallery above to see Liverpool and FC Porto in action on Wednesday
The dialogue went as follows, per the Daily Mail:
Reporter: 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: 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...
Reporter: That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said.
Klopp: 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 Africa 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.
Reporter: But you wouldn't say that in Europe, you wouldn't say a "little tournament in Europe"...
Klopp: 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. But that is it now. It was not my intention but you made something [more] of it, so that is not so cool, to be 100% honest."
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