Monday 20 November 2017

Jurgen Klopp compares Joel Matip farce to Brexit

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Matip
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Matip

Jurgen Klopp has compared the situation where Liverpool are unable to play defender Joel Matip to Brexit.

Matip missed Liverpool’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester United on Sunday when he was hooked from the squad at the eleventh hour because the Reds were uncertain whether Fifa had cleared him to play for them.

The German-born defender retired from international football 18 months ago but was included in Cameroon’s Africa Cup of Nations squad.

He did not meet up with the squad and hasn’t played for Cameroon since 2015, but the uncertainty over whether he was eligible to play for Liverpool during the period of the tournament led to his exclusion as the Reds sought clarification from Fifa.

And that has riled Klopp, who said people are free to make their own decisions, regardless of how many people they displease, citing Britain’s decision to leave the EU as an example, in the week Prime Minister Teresa May set out her Brexit plans.

“We would have let him go,” said Klopp. “But again, if you want to take my understanding, it’s a free world and if you don’t want to play, you have different reasons for it, if you don’t want to play for the national team it should be possible.”

“We all can make decisions. Whole countries can leave the EU and nobody can say: ‘no you can’t!’ Yes obviously you can.

“So playing for the national team… it should always, in my opinion, it’s the biggest thing for a player. It’s a wonderful positive thing, playing for the national team – if you want it.”

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