Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he feels for Pep Guardiola and his players after Manchester City were banned from UEFA competition for two seasons.
The Premier League champions were banned from all UEFA competitions by European football’s governing body on Friday for “serious breaches” to Financial Fair Play regulations.
Speaking after Liverpool’s 1-0 victory at Norwich, Klopp stressed the need to reserve judgment on City until more information came to the surface but expressed his admiration and sympathy for a manager and a group of players who he insists are not to blame.
“It was shock when I heard it,” Klopp told his post-match press conference.
“I have no idea how these kind of things work or happen, but what I can say as a football coach is that Manchester City under Pep Guardiola play sensational football.
“That is how it is. I have always admired what he is doing, what they are doing and that will not end in this moment.
“One can imagine that it is really hard at the moment for the sports people; you trust your people, they tell you it is fine, but UEFA see things slightly different and now they have to deal with it.
“I have no idea what will happen next. I’ve seen a few things, obviously City will appeal, but I can imagine there will be much more information and people will talk about it.
“To be honest, I feel for Pep and the players, wow, because for sure they did nothing wrong, they just played football, and sensational football at that. Whatever Pep was, he helped each league to improve football.
“But then again, we all have to respect some rules. I have no idea if they did or not, but obviously UEFA sees it like this that they didn’t, and we will see what happens.”
Klopp comments came after Sadio Mane came off the bench to see off Norwich and Storm Dennis as Liverpool moved 25 points clear and inched closer to snatching the Premier League title away from Manchester City.
Saturday’s victory at Carrow Road – Liverpool’s 17th in a row – means Klopp’s side are one win away from matching City’s record 18-game winning streak in the Premier League, while the Reds can guarantee a first title in 30 years with five victories from their remaining 12 games.
“That is so insane that I don’t really understand it – I’m not smart enough, it’s difficult,” Klopp said, when asked to comment on the chasm between Liverpool and Manchester City.
“I’ve never had that before, had no clue how it happened really, it’s just that we are focused on what we’re doing, and it feels really good but that’s it. It’s outstanding, really exceptional but it’s so difficult.
“I go into the dressing room and we have two or three minutes of analysis with me and the boys and I speak about the things at the end and then I remember to congratulate them because we won the game and were outstanding.
“That’s the situation and you count the points and it’s three more. Unbelievable. It’s pretty special absolutely.”