The Liverpool manager accused Ramos of deliberately targeting Salah and Loris Karius, who suffered concussion moments before gifting Karim Benzema the opening goal, and the referee Milorad Mazic of lacking the courage to dismiss the Real captain in such a high-profile fixture
Jurgen Klopp has opened up on Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat for the first time and described Sergio Ramos as acting like a brutal wrestler when injuring Mohamed Salah in Kiev. Liverpool would still have signed Alisson for a world-record goalkeeping fee had they beaten Real Madrid in May, Klopp confirmed.
The Liverpool manager accused Ramos of deliberately targeting Salah and Loris Karius, who suffered concussion moments before gifting Karim Benzema the opening goal, and the referee Milorad Mazic of lacking the courage to dismiss the Real captain in such a high-profile fixture. Klopp had previously kept his counsel on the decisive incidents in Kiev but did not hold back when pressed again on Liverpool’s US tour, insisting Ramos’s history of controversy requires greater scrutiny.
Jürgen Klopp on Sergio Ramos: 'He said a lot of things afterwards that I didn’t like. As a person I didn’t like the reactions of him. If you put all of the situations of Ramos together then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos.' By @AHunterGuardian https://t.co/59SAE3cyj5— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) July 28, 2018
“We are opening that bottle again?” said Klopp, speaking before Saturday’s International Champions Cup game against Manchester United. “It is action-reaction-action-reaction and I don’t like that but – if you watch it back and you are not with Real Madrid – then you think it is ruthless and brutal.
“I saw the ref taking charge of big games at the World Cup and nobody really thinks about that later. But in a situation like that somebody needs to judge it better. If VAR is coming then it is a situation where you have to look again. Not to give a red card but to look again and say: ‘What is that?’ It was ruthless.
“I’m not sure it is an experience we will have again – go there and put an elbow to the goalkeeper, put their goalscorer down like a wrestler in midfield and then you win the game. That was the story of the game. Ramos said a lot of things afterwards that I didn’t like. As a person I didn’t like the reactions of him. He was like: ‘Whatever, what do they want? It’s normal.’ No, it is not normal. If you put all of the situations of Ramos together then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos. The year before against Juve he was responsible for the red card for [Juan] Cuadrado. Nobody talks about that afterwards. It is like we, the world out there, accepts that you use each weapon to win the game. People probably expect that I am the same. I am not.”
He added: “We are aggressive but I always use the word ‘legal as well’. Usually if you try something you will get punished. Someone will see it and ban you for four or five weeks. But in this example, no one. This ref should have had the courage to decide that game. In this situation we didn’t get it and, if you write this, people will say I am weak or a bad loser or a whiner. I am not. I accept it. It’s not like I wake up in the morning and think: ‘Ramos!’
“In a final you need to have a bit of luck and we didn’t have it. They had luck in different situations and we didn’t. They scored a bicycle kick, come on! We all know [Gareth] Bale can do that but he probably put more balls from that situation in the stands than in the goal. If that’s not luck then I don’t know what is. Then the situation around Loris.”
Jurgen Klopp isn’t promising any silverware, but he’s ready to fight for it 💪 pic.twitter.com/piXVLg4YiF— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2018
Klopp knew Liverpool would be accused of making excuses for defeat by disclosing Karius tested positive for concussion several days after the final but insisted the club had no option but to make the diagnosis public. However, he confirmed, also for the first time, that Liverpool would have pursued the £65m deal for Alisson irrespective of Karius’s display in Kiev.
Liverpool inquired about the Brazil international in January and Klopp added: “We didn’t use the concussion as an excuse for one second but how can we not put it out as an explanation? The problem is only now that people still don’t believe it, and then we bring in a new goalkeeper and people think we don’t believe it as well, which is not true.
“If Alisson was on the market and we’d won the final, we would have gone for him, because he’s the goalkeeper we want. The other goalkeepers are really good, like all our other players, but that doesn’t mean we don’t bring in another one. We bring in another one because we can make the next step with the new players, like Naby [Keita] and all the others.”
José Mourinho has claimed there is a demand on Liverpool to win the title having spent more than £170m on new players this summer. The United manager also said it was funny Klopp had invested heavily having previously objected to extravagant transfer fees. “I heard he was smiling when he said it and he found it funny,” said the Liverpool manager, “so I am really happy that José is smiling. It doesn’t happen often.”