Jurgen Klopp has explained why he and Mikel Arteta ended up in an altercation during Saturday’s match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND: Juergen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND: Juergen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

During the first half of Arsenal’s defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp got into an animated verbal disagreement that could have turned physical if not for the assistant coaches holding them back.

Klopp explained afterwards that the argument was over an incident involving Sadio Mane.

“It was a completely clean situation, nothing happened, two players jumped in the air and didn’t touch each other, really, at least not like a foul,” Klopp said.

“The bench of Arsenal went up and I asked: ‘What do you want from that?’. There was no contact really, but it looked like everybody wanted a red card.

“I am really sick of these situations, where everybody tries to go for Sadio in these moments. He is a physical player, obviously, he does make hard fouls.

“We had to take Sadio off against Atletico because they wanted him to get a yellow card.”

The issue Arteta had with the incident (understandably so) is that Mane went into the aerial duel leading with his arm, which caught Takehiro Tomiyasu in the face.

Klopp’s statement about there being some agenda against Mane looks a little silly after Mane attempted a scissor challenge on a player not on the pitch later in the half. He was booked that time.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND: Sadio Mane of Liverpool is shown a yellow card by Match Referee Michael Oliver during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND: Sadio Mane of Liverpool is shown a yellow card by Match Referee Michael Oliver during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

That’s not to mention how ridiculous it is to imply that all the managers around Europe have come together to agree to try and get Mane sent off.

If lots of different managers have a problem with the actions of just one of your players, perhaps it suggests there’s a problem with the actions of one of your players.

Arteta wouldn’t be drawn on the incident after the game.

“He was defending his team, I was defending my team, that’s it,” he said. “It doesn’t matter.

“Yes, I did [speak to Klopp after the match] and I congratulated him. These moments are left on the pitch.”

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