Klopp lifts lid on Mane reaction to Liverpool substitution v Atletico

Date published: Friday 21st February 2020 2:35

Sadio Mane was “surprised” at being substituted at half time in Liverpool’s Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed.

Following the match at the Wanda Metropolitano, Klopp explained that he took Mane off because he feared he would be sent off with the Spanish side putting pressure on the referee to issue him a second yellow card.

The holders were already a goal behind when their star man was forced off, but Klopp was adamant he didn’t believe Liverpool could finish the game with 11 if Mane had remained on the pitch.

Reinforcing his decision, Klopp explained during Friday’s press conference to preview Monday night’s clash with West Ham at Anfield: “I spoke to him this morning, I asked was he surprised and he said ‘yes’.

“I don’t think he had a chance, my honest opinion. We needed him physical, having contact with opponents.

“It’s part of the game, I don’t like it too much, the situation they created with eight players around the referee. I didn’t believe we could complete the game with 11 with him on the pitch.

“But now he’s completely fine, he’s rested which is good as well.”

Klopp said after the defeat in Madrid, which puts Liverpool’s Champions League hopes in the balance: ‘Mane was targeted obviously that was clear.

 

 

“Mane played a really good first half and only thing they wanted was to make sure he got a yellow, said Klopp, whose side lost 1-0 to Saul Niguez’s fourth minute goal.

“The plan was tonight to get Sadio out of the game,’ added the German. ‘I was afraid his opponent would go down if he took a deep breath.”

One Liverpool flop is set to return to Anfield this summer after it was reported his loan club will not take up their option to sign him permanently.

 

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