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It is ruth­less and bru­tal’ — Klopp slams Ramos for ‘wrestling’ move on Salah in UCL final

Jur­gen Klopp has claimed Ser­gio Ramos put Mohamed Salah ‘down like a wrestler’ as Liv­er­pool’s man­ag­er final­ly broke his silence on the Cham­pi­ons League final.

Speak­ing for the first time in detail about the pain Liv­er­pool suf­fered 63 days ago, Klopp has giv­en a wide-rang­ing inter­view ahead of the new sea­son in which he:

Crit­i­cis­es Ramos’s behav­iour and calls him ‘ruth­less’; goes into detail about the con­cus­sion goal­keep­er Loris Kar­ius suf­fered and explains why he would have bro­ken the world record for new No 1 Alis­son Beck­er even if Liv­er­pool had beat­en Real Madrid in Kiev; laughs off Jose Mour­in­ho’s attempts to get him to engage in mind games.

Recount­ing what hap­pened on the night Liv­er­pool lost 3–1, Klopp — whose side face Man­ches­ter Unit­ed here on Sat­ur­day — said: ‘I’m not sure if 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 ques­tion takes him by sur­prise. Jur­gen Klopp has set­tled down in a con­fer­ence room at Liv­er­pool’s team hotel and is prepar­ing to dis­cuss the new sea­son.

Before he can start to look for­ward, though, Klopp is asked to revis­it Liv­er­pool’s 3–1 defeat by Real Madrid in the Cham­pi­ons League final. Or — more specif­i­cal­ly — the inci­dent in the 26th minute that led to Mohamed Salah leav­ing the field in tears fol­low­ing Ser­gio Ramos’s chal­lenge.

Ramos, the totem of the mod­ern Madrid, said plen­ty on the sub­ject after­wards, among oth­er things claim­ing Salah was tak­en off too ear­ly and could have con­tin­ued with the aid of a pain-killing injec­tion. So what did Klopp make of it all?

We are open­ing that bot­tle again?’ he replies.

There is a puff of the cheeks and a long pause. Once Klopp has gath­ered his thoughts, he pro­ceeds to speak, unbro­ken, for 10 min­utes. The words he choos­es are blunt and leave you in no doubt that he holds Ramos respon­si­ble.

I watched that back, of course,’ said Klopp. ‘Some­one showed it to me imme­di­ate­ly after the game. But if you watch it back and you are not with Real Madrid then you think it is ruth­less and bru­tal. You don’t think, “Wow! Good chal­lenge”. It was ruth­less.

I don’t think Mo would have always got injured in that sit­u­a­tion, this time it was unlucky. But it is an expe­ri­ence we can­not have. I’m not sure if 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.

That was the sto­ry. Ramos said a lot of things I did­n’t like. As a per­son, I did­n’t like his reac­tions. He was like, “What­ev­er! What do they want? It’s nor­mal!” No. It isn’t nor­mal. If VAR is com­ing this is a sit­u­a­tion where you have to look again, not to give a red card, but to say, “What is that?”

If you put all of the sit­u­a­tions of Ramos togeth­er — and I’ve watched foot­ball since I was five years old — then you will see a lot of sit­u­a­tions with Ramos. In the final the year before, against Juve, he was respon­si­ble for the red card for Juan Cuadra­do.

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.’

Now he has found his rhythm.

If you write this peo­ple will say I’m weak, a bad los­er or a whin­er,’ Klopp con­tin­ues. ‘I’m not. I accept it. You have asked me about it. It’s not like I wake up in the morn­ing and think “RAMOS!” (he jumps out his chair for effect) I’m fine with it. We were a com­peti­tor. But in a final you need to have a bit of luck and we did­n’t have it. Then there was the sit­u­a­tion with Loris.’

A sit­u­a­tion which did­n’t ful­ly come to light until three days after Liv­er­pool had returned home from Kiev. Loris Kar­ius, their goal­keep­er, had been elbowed in the head by Ramos.

No foul was giv­en and the Ger­man nev­er asked for treat­ment. He was sub­se­quent­ly diag­nosed with con­cus­sion after being exam­ined by Dr Ross Zafonte and Dr Lenore Her­get at Boston’s Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal.

What did you think in the moment when (that sto­ry) came out?’ Klopp asks. ‘Come on. Be hon­est.

The hon­est answer is that many saw it as an excuse, a sto­ry designed to offer pro­tec­tion for a goal­keep­er whose errors led to Madrid’s first and third goals. Klopp takes it all on board before putting for­ward the real­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion.

Franz Beck­en­bauer called me,’ Klopp explains. ‘He start­ed with, “Your goal­keep­er had con­cus­sion”. I said, “What?”. He said “I’ve come from (Bay­ern Munich doc­tor) Hanz Muller-Wolfhart and he said he knew imme­di­ate­ly in the sit­u­a­tion that Loris had con­cus­sion when Ramos hit him.”

Peo­ple said we made the med­ical report pub­lic because it’s pol­i­cy. It’s not. We did­n’t use it one sec­ond as an excuse. But how can we not put it out as an expla­na­tion? The prob­lem is that peo­ple still don’t believe it. Then we bring in a new goal­keep­er and peo­ple think we don’t believe it as well.

Kar­ius’s future at Liv­er­pool is uncer­tain. There have been more mis­takes in pre-sea­son and the 25-year-old told Sky Ger­many this week that he was upset about the £65million world record arrival of Alis­son Beck­er from Roma.

Klopp and Kar­ius have spo­ken in recent days but the man­ag­er wants to stress this point about Brazil No 1 Alis­son, who will join the squad for a train­ing camp in France next week.

If Alis­son was on the mar­ket and we’d won the final, we would have gone for him,’ says Klopp. ‘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 try to improve our own sit­u­a­tion.’

And Liv­er­pool cer­tain­ly have improved their sit­u­a­tion in the past 63 days. Naby Kei­ta and Fabin­ho, two mid­field­ers who have cost almost £100million com­bined, have added depth and class to the engine room. Xher­dan Shaqiri was a £13million buy from Stoke that Klopp says made ‘total sense’.

But as Klopp knows, the huge invest­ment brings huge expec­ta­tion. Liv­er­pool’s rivals are watch­ing their every move, apply­ing pres­sure in any way they can.

Nobody has done it more than Man­ches­ter Unit­ed man­ag­er Jose Mour­in­ho, who says there is a ‘demand’ on Liv­er­pool to become cham­pi­ons. The sides face each oth­er in ‘The Big House’ in Ann Arbor on Sat­ur­day night.

I heard he was smil­ing when he said it and he found it fun­ny,’ says Klopp, his eyes twin­kling with mis­chief. ‘So I am real­ly hap­py that Jose is smil­ing! It does­n’t hap­pen a lot of times!

Would I speak today about Jose Mour­in­ho if you did­n’t ask me? Of course not. I’m not sure but prob­a­bly Jose would­n’t speak about me if nobody asked him. Jose tries every­thing to put pres­sure on peo­ple and improve his own sit­u­a­tion.

If he goes for spend­ing mon­ey — and I’m not the best at count­ing what we have spent in the last few years — but I would say since we are both in, still Man­ches­ter Unit­ed prob­a­bly has spent a lit­tle bit more — at least net. That is how it is. It’s not impor­tant.’

What is impor­tant is the task of mov­ing Liv­er­pool for­ward.

It is not only about sign­ings,’ he says before leav­ing. ‘We have a good team. We still have a good team but the oth­ers have good teams. They will not sleep.

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