Klopp refutes claim his comments on Man City's ownership were xenophobic

By Sports Desk October 19, 2022

Jurgen Klopp has insisted his comments about Manchester City's ownership were not in any way xenophobic. 

Last week, ahead of Liverpool's meeting with the reigning Premier League champions at Anfield – which finished 1-0 to the Reds – Klopp claimed his side were unable to compete with City due to the financial might of their owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, which bought the club in 2008.

City have gone from Premier League also-rans to a dominant force in English football, having won the title six times since 2012.

Indeed, four of the last five Premier League titles have gone City's way, with Liverpool pushing them hard in two of those seasons as well as winning the top flight themselves in 2020.

Klopp said: "There are three clubs in world football who can do what they want financially."

This was thought to be aimed at City, Paris Saint-Germain – owned by Qatar Sports Investments – and Newcastle United, who are majority owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

When it was put to Klopp in a press conference that his comments were seen by some as xenophobic, the Liverpool manager replied: "I know myself. And you cannot hit with something which is miles away from my personality.

"If I was – I cannot remember the word – like this I would hate it. I would hate myself for being like this.

"I have said a lot of times things that were a little bit open for misunderstanding. I know that.

"It was not intentional, just sometimes you say things and you think, 'Oh my God, it can be interpreted like this', but this is not one of these moments. Absolutely.

"It started with a question [about how to compete with City] and I answered it and all the rest was made of it.

"I know what I thought and put it in perspective and said how much I respect what they are doing, and it was still not right for some."

It has been reported City's hierarchy believe Klopp's pre-match comments increased tensions ahead of Sunday's game on Merseyside, during which visiting fans sang chants referencing stadium disasters – later condemned by Liverpool – while Pep Guardiola claimed to have had coins thrown at him as his club said he was targeted by missiles from home supporters.

Klopp was sent off after furiously confronting an official and is now facing a Football Association charge for his behaviour on the touchline.

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