Jurgen Klopp says he still “does not like” the way Atletico Madrid play as they prepare to meet for the first time since an emotional clash in March 2020.
The two teams are set to face off in Madrid almost 17 months after Atletico beat Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League at Anfield in the final game before the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Klopp fumed after the match that Atletico failed to play “proper football” despite the talent in their squad, and he hasn’t backed down from his comments ahead of the rematch on Tuesday.
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“Look, first and foremost I think I said this after the second game, I was angry and disappointed about a lot of things…about life, a little bit, that things were going so wrong with the world at that moment.
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“Then we had to concentrate on football in really strange circumstances. Then, of course, we played against a team full of world-class players. They defended with all they have and that is probably the reason I said the things I said.
“Look, Diego Simeone is doing absolutely everything right. He is the current Spanish champion, he is at Atletico for a long, long time, very successful there, has a bunch of world-class players, keeps them on their toes, they fight with all they have for their lives. That says a lot about the quality of Diego.
“So I couldn’t respect more what they do. Do I like it? Not too much. But that’s normal, because I prefer a different kind of football. But that’s me. Other coaches prefer other styles of football.
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"So nobody has to like it, it just has to be successful and that’s what Atletico is for sure. What I said was for sure influenced by the mood I was in on that specific day one-and-a-half years ago."
Liverpool are top of Champions League Group B on six points from two games, with Atletico second on four points.
Asked for his response to Klopp’s comments, Simeone simply said in English: “Nothing.”
Curtis Jones will not be available for Liverpool, having missed the 5-0 victory over Watford at the weekend after suffering a muscle problem with England Under-21s.
He has been pictured back in training, but Klopp said: "Unfortunately Curtis was only with us in the warming up and will be here in Liverpool to hopefully make the final steps to full training.
"Today he did only warming up and then did his stuff, but still individual training and we decided to leave him here to continue that. And then hopefully he is ready for United."
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