Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp complained on Friday that his comments about the state of the Ajax pitch had been misrepresented to Erik ten Hag.
Speaking after his side’s 1-0 Champions League win in Amsterdam, which was settled by a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal, Klopp said the “muddy” playing surface had left players from both sides “exhausted”.
In response, Ten Hag told reporters, “Let’s hope we get a better pitch at Anfield, then” after disagreeing that the turf was unsuitable.
Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game with Sheffield United at home, Klopp suggested he had been misquoted and had been left in an “embarrassing” situation.
He said: “I liked the game from a performance point of view against Everton [a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park] much more than the game against Ajax. But you have to win the games.
“By the way, it’s always a bit disappointing when I hear people confronted Erik ten Hag with what I said after about the pitch, and then he has to respond to that, it’s really a bit embarrassing.
“I didn’t blame the pitch for our performance; I said it was not a good pitch and it didn’t help both teams. But who is interested in the truth nowadays?”
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Klopp also denied there was any problem with confidence within his squad as a result of the disappointment at not beating Everton in the derby in a game in which Virgil van Dijk suffered knee ligament damage that could keep him out for the season.
“One week ago, we played a sensational game in really difficult circumstances and I liked that a lot, so we don’t struggle with confidence or whatever, it’s just we have to make sure we are ready for this game physically and mood-wise and that’s what we do for years now,” he said.
“That’s our biggest challenge: to make sure we are always ready. This is the next one, it’s Anfield, against Sheffield United, it’s tough, make sure you’re ready and we have a chance.
“Sheffield United are doing really well and it’s not unlikely that something like what happened to them result-wise – they had a pretty tough start, fixtures-wise – it’s normal and I’m pretty sure Chris [Wilder] is calm enough to know that all the good things they did are still good and they just have to keep them going and that’s what they will try and that makes it a very intense game.”
Klopp was uncertain whether goalkeeper Alisson, midfielder Thiago Alcantara or defender Joel Matip would be fit for the game, but he did not appear overly concerned by injuries.
“We have training after the press conference so we will see who is out there. You can only be in contention if you are training,” he said.
“In my situation, I don’t want to rule anybody out until someone tells me, and so far, nobody told me. Maybe I should have listened better. For me, everybody apart from the three I mentioned are in contention until somebody tells me different.”
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