Controversy sparked after Jurgen Klopp used the phrase "little tournament" to refer to the Africa Cup of Nations in a press conference following Liverpool's 4-0 win over Arsenal last Saturday, which forced the German coach to clarify his remarks in the presser after their 2-0 victory against Porto on Wednesday.
Klopp expressed his frustration about the fact that he will see three important players in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita join their national teams for the tournament that will take place this winter from January 9 to February 6.
The controversial phrase
Asked by a journalist after the Arsenal match about his opinion on the lack of international breaks until next March following three breaks that have taken place so far this season, Klopp stressed that there will be more international duels in the meantime.
"I've heard that so often that there's no international break until March," said Klopp.
"In January, there's a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games, too. South America as well. Great, can't wait."
Klopp's clarifying remarks
When a journalist brought up Klopp's controversial phrase in the press conference after the Porto clash and claimed that the German tactician offended people from Africa, the Liverpool coach stressed that he didn't intent to displease anyone.
"I didn't mean it like that. I don't know why you understand it like that," responded Klopp.
"It's not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.
"What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way. I said: 'There's no international break anymore until March' and I said: 'Oh and there's a little tournament in January,' and I didn't mean a little tournament, just like you say it when there's still a tournament. It's ironic. There's still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.
"I'm 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 never understand why you thought like this to be honest, but that's really not OK, because I would never do that, but that's it now.
"It was not my intention, but you made something of it. That's not so cool as well to be 100 percent honest."