Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he had sympathy for his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in the wake of the English champions’ two-year ban from European football dished out by UEFA for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
With City’s domestic title challenge all but over — Liverpool 25 points ahead after beating Norwich City 1-0 away on Saturday — Klopp said the news on Friday about the European ban for the Manchester club had taken him by surprise.
“It was a shock. Complete wow!” he told Sky Sports after the match. “The only thing I can say is about football. What they have done on the football pitch is exceptional. The rest, I don’t know.
“I really feel for them, Pep and the players, but that is how it is. They can appeal so we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious.
“But the football they played was exceptional and will always be exceptional.”
European soccer’s governing body UEFA said City had committed “serious breaches” of its FFP regulations by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
City denied any wrongdoing and said they will appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
When asked about his own team’s success on Saturday, Klopp could only call it “insane.”
Liverpool need 15 more points to wrap-up the Premier League trophy and the only question is when, not if, Liverpool will be crowned as English champions for the first time in 30 years.
“It’s so insane I don’t understand it,” Klopp said. “I’m not smart enough, it’s difficult. Never had that before and I’ve no clue how it happened really. It’s just we are focused on what we are doing and it feels really good.
“It’s outstanding. It’s so difficult. You go in after the game and analyse the game and then say, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, we won the game congratulations.’ It’s outstanding. You count the points and it’s three more. It’s unbelievable.”
Klopp’s side were not at their clinical best against a battling Norwich side who held out for almost 80 minutes before substitute Sadio Mane drilled home a late winner.
“Fabinho coming on was very important for the organisation. Sadio was fresh and he helped us to win the game, which was outstanding. I have to watch the goal back but I’m pretty sure it was a fantastic finish,” added Klopp.
“I could tell in all the players faces that they weren’t nervous, they were enjoying it, and if one team was going to score it was going to be us.”