Klopp: I have big, big respect for Sam Allardyce

Jurgen Klopp watches his side win at Sunderland in December
Jurgen Klopp watches his side win at Sunderland in December
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Jurgen Klopp insists that he has no problems with Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, despite the Black Cats chief’s comments about “a soft German” following Liverpool’s 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in December.

That night, following Liverpool appeals for a red card for a Jeremain Lens challenge on Mamadou Sakho, Allardyce said: “If he thinks that’s a red card, then he’s a soft German. It’s a yellow, a foul. There was some foul and abusive language towards my staff that I didn’t like.”

But Klopp told a press conference at Liverpool today, looking ahead to the Anfield rematch with Sunderland tomorrow: “There was never a story. The ‘soft’ story? There was no story.

“There is really no problem.

“I have big, big respect for Sam Allardyce.

“We will shake hands before and after the game. And in between I hope my team is not that friendly!”

Liverpool will miss centre-back Martin Skrtel for tomorrow’s Premier League clash.

The long-serving defender has suffered a “re-injury” and has been ruled out by boss Klopp for up to three weeks, all but ending his hopes of a place in the starting line-up for the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley at the end of the month.

Philippe Coutinho is back in training but looks unlikely to be risked against Sunderland. Divick Origi and Danil Sturridge are in the same boat, with the Liverpool Echo hinting that they could be contenders to return against Aston Villa next weekend.