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Jurgen Klopp clarified his comment on the ‘little tournament’ about the Africa Cup of Nations, insisting that it was an ironic meaning.

CAN 2022, which will start on January 9, will shake up the Premier League teams which have African players from participating countries in their ranks.

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Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who provide a large percentage of the team’s goals

Liverpool are arguably the most affected team as they are on the verge of losing Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah, Senegalese star Sadio Mane and Guinean midfielder Naby Keita.

Ahead of the Reds’ Champions League victory over Porto, Klopp spoke of the key trio’s upcoming absences, later calling CAN a “small tournament” in the process.

The German was confronted with journalist Ojora Babatunde at a press conference following the 2-0 victory with Babatunde insisting that Klopp’s comments were an insult to players, fans, the people and the African continent.

Klopp replied, “It’s okay, I didn’t mean to say it like that. I don’t know why you don’t get it like that to be honest.

Jurgen Klopp explains comments from CAN ‘small tournament’ as Liverpool set to do without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita this season

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Klopp insisted his comments were misinterpreted

Babatunde hit back at the Liverpool boss, saying he owed the mainland an apology.

Klopp said: “It’s not even close, it wasn’t the idea in my mind to talk about CAN as a small tournament or to talk about the African continent as a small continent, not the all.

“What I meant was people said, and if you watch the press conference in its entirety, if you wanted to understand it the right way, you could have understood it the right way because j ‘said there was no more international break until March – so I said’ oh there’s a little tournament in January ‘.

“I didn’t mean a small tournament, I just mean you say it when there is still a tournament, it’s ironic. There is still a tournament, a big one where we lose our best players.

Jurgen Klopp explains comments from CAN ‘small tournament’ as Liverpool set to do without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita this season

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Klopp grew increasingly frustrated as the reporter persisted in his line of questioning

Babatunde still didn’t seem happy with Klopp’s defense so the Liverpool boss added: “I’m not a native speaker but if you want to misunderstand me you can do that all the time.

“I know I would never think like that. I don’t understand why you think like that but it’s really bad. I wouldn’t do that but that’s it now.

“It wasn’t my intention, but you did something with it and it’s not 100% cool to be honest.”

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Jurgen Klopp explains comments from CAN ‘small tournament’ as Liverpool set to do without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita this season

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