'Stop, stop, stop!' - Watch Klopp's heated exchange with journalist over 'little tournament' AFCON comments

Jurgen Klopp was forced to defend his comments about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Wednesday night after the Liverpool manager was confronted by an angry journalist.

Klopp had described AFCON as a "little tournament" while bemoaning that some of his best players, including Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, will be unavailable for a few weeks in January while they play in the cup.

Following Liverpool's 2-0 Champions League victory over Porto, journalist Ojora Babatunde called Klopp out for his comments - leading the coach to insist he was taken out of context.

What was said?

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

Klopp replied: "Stop, stop stop. I didn't mean it like that. I don't know why you understand it like that to be honest.

"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 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."

Babatunde was not happy however, following up: "You wouldn't say that in Europe, you wouldn't say a "little tournament in Europe."

Klopp responded: "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.

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

When is AFCON?

The continental tournament for Africa is different to the others around the world in that it occurs ever two years instead of four, and takes place during the European winter rather than summer.

This year's AFCON takes place in Cameroon and starts on January 9, with the final on February 6.

Three Liverpool players wil be there - Salah for Egypt, Mane with Senegal, and Guinea's Naby Keita.

Further Reading