Jurgen Klopp says he cannot understand taunting rivals after Kyle Walker’s deleted tweet mocking Liverpool draw with Leicester
- Jurgen Klopp refuted accusations Liverpool acted unsportingly vs Leicester
- Ground staff only cleared the area Liverpool were attacking in second half
- After the 1-1 draw, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker sent a mocking tweet
- Klopp said he cannot understand making jokes at the expense of rivals
Jurgen Klopp has defended accusations that Liverpool acted in an unsporting way against Leicester, and insisted he would never revel in another team’s misfortune.
One incident was magnified more than any other after Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Anfield and that was the fact the ground staff cleared the quarter of the pitch that had been covered in ice and frost during half-time in preparation for Liverpool’s attack in the second half.
Manchester City fans picked upon the episode but there was no discernible benefit for Liverpool, as they drew at home for the first time since October 7.
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Jurgen Klopp has defended accusations that Liverpool acted unsportingly against Leicester
Ground staff cleared the area Liverpool were attacking in second half, but not other end
After the 1-1 draw, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker tweeted this – it was later deleted
It prompted Kyle Walker, City’s right back, to tweet a picture of Harry Maguire – who scored Leicester’s goal – in which he mocked Klopp’s team dropping two points.
Walker deleted the tweet within 30 minutes of posting it but it was viewed thousands of times. Klopp did not criticise the England international but he was at loss to understand why he – or anyone – would do something to taunt a rival.
‘I cannot help that,’ said Klopp, whose team lead the title race by five points. ‘I’m not sure what that says about us, it says a bit more about the other person. I never celebrated another team dropping points or losing a game. For me, that’s not allowed.
‘I never ask anybody to clear one side of the pitch and leave the other in the mud. It’s sport, you have to do your own thing and try to show your best performance. For supporters it’s a bit different; for people involved, I don’t understand it, but how can I criticise if I don’t understand it?’
Klopp said that clearing the Leicester area helped their defenders as well as Liverpool’s players
On Friday, when asked to elaborate about Liverpool’s decision to treat the pitch at half-time – they did not break any Premier League rule – Klopp pointed out that by improving the conditions for Liverpool’s forward line, there was a positive spin-off for Leicester’s defenders also.
‘The situation was like everybody saw,’ said Klopp, whose side do not play until Monday night when they tackle West Ham United at the London Stadium. ‘When we were warming up it started snowing, but the pitch was completely OK.
‘Then we went in, and when we came out it was like full of hale or wet snow. The pitch was difficult. The first half we had 80 per cent of the ball so only one team suffered and it was us. It was clear that our ground staff tried to clear it but they didn’t have enough man power.
‘They realised how difficult it was when they started doing it, not before. There was no plan, nobody told them, I can swear, to clear only our side or our box. I hear people say it’s unsporting, but it’s an advantage, if their box is clear then it’s better to defend.
Klopp revealed Joe Gomez may not be fit for Champions League clash with Bayern Munich
The England international broke his leg at Burnley on December 5 and is still recovering
‘It’s no coincidence that in the first half we scored a goal in a box that was full of snow. That’s how it is, we cannot change it. In England people are not used to it. In Germany you would give shovels to everybody, even people even in the stands would come on the pitch and help.
‘We had even commercial things going on around the pitch; next time first of all there will be no commercial if it is snowing and we will have enough shovels to clear the pitch. That’s football. The heating couldn’t deal with it. In the end it was a bit better, but it was a difficult pitch to play on.’
Klopp, meanwhile, has revealed Joe Gomez is struggling to be fit for the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on February 19. The England international broke his leg at Burnley on December 5 and it was anticipated he would be back before now.
‘I don’t think it would be a realistic target for Bayern,’ said Klopp, who continues to be without right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. ‘After that, any time, you will see.’