Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that he made a mistake in deciding who should have earned the captaincy in a recent Champions League match.
Discussion about the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Midtjylland continued long after the match into the media. Indeed, such discussions have not centred around the players’ lacklustre performance in the dead rubber.
Instead, winger Mohamed Salah vented his disappointment at not earning the captaincy in Denmark. Full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold took that mantle – for the first time in his Anfield career.
But while Salah felt frustrated, Alexander-Arnold was overjoyed at leading his boyhood club.
According to Klopp, however, 2014 signing Divock Origi should have taken the armband. The Belgian was the club’s longest-serving player who featured in the European clash in the absence of more senior stars.
“The rule here is, we have a players’ committee,” Klopp told a press conference (via Goal). “Hendo wears the armband, and if he’s not playing then it’s Milly [James Milner]. If those two are not playing then it’s Virgil [van Dijk] and if all three are not playing, it’s Gini [Wijnaldum].
“If they all cannot play, then it’s usually the player who is longest at the club. And that was how I saw it in my understanding. Trent got it because he was longest at the club – professionally, not just his youth career.”
“Somebody afterwards told me it would have been Divock Origi, but Div was on loan and stuff like that. That was my fault. I didn’t make it that complicated. It was just, ‘Trent is longest at the club, so he has the armband’.”
Klopp admitted that he made a mistake but cleared the air with Salah before he made his thoughts public.
“Of course I spoke to Mo about it afterwards,” When I realised it didn’t work out that well [for him], I clarified it, and then he spoke about it again in the interview, which is not a problem for me.
“Yes, he was disappointed, but I didn’t do it on purpose. I just did what I did, and if I made a mistake then it was that Divock Origi was not the captain that day!”
Klopp opens up on Salah comments
Elsewhere in his interview with AS, Salah admitted that he could not rule out a move to Spain. As such, doubt has surfaced about the Egyptian’s future at Anfield.
Klopp, though, insisted that Salah said what all players would have said in the same situation.
“When Mo answered the question, it was just that these clubs might be interested, and he wouldn’t rule it out,” the manager said.
“Imagine, if you ask any player in the world who isn’t playing for Barcelona or Madrid, and you ask them, ‘Can you imagine playing for them one day?’ and they say, ‘No, not for them, Spain is s***!’ or whatever.
“Why would he say that? All [Salah] said is, ‘We will see’ and that it’s in the club’s hands. That’s true, 100 per cent. It’s about the future.
“It’s really all fine. You obviously have not a lot to talk about, and that’s why we make a long story about one interview. That’s fine, but it doesn’t make it more important to me. Mo is a very important player for me, obviously, but the story around isn’t!”
Liverpool have had a seven-day rest following their 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace. In that time, they have welcomed James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri back into the fold.
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