Jürgen Klopp will speak to Sadio Mané about refusing to shake his hand at Old Trafford but insists one show of disrespect will not be held against the Liverpool striker.
Mané snubbed his manager’s offer of a handshake following the 4-2 win at Manchester United that put Champions League qualification back in Liverpool’s hands with three matches to go. Klopp admitted the Senegal international was unhappy at starting on the bench and said he had not had time to explain the decision in advance.
Klopp is keen to move on but will hold clear-the-air talks with the 29-year-old, who said this week that he was enduring “the worst season of my career”.
Klopp said: “If somebody shows me respect five million times and one time not, what is then more important? The world is in a situation when you make this one time bigger than necessary. That’s unfortunately the case. I hope for you that your boss, if you one time don’t show him respect, he then does not forget all the other stuff.
“I am completely relaxed about it. If you had seen me as a player what I did out of emotion was insane – and I’m a completely normal guy. But it happened to me. We will talk about it and then it will be sorted. Everything will be fine. That’s all.”
Liverpool would secure Champions League football for a fifth successive season with victories against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, Burnley on Wednesday and Crystal Palace on the final day. But Klopp insists the pressure on his team has not changed as a result of the impressive win at Old Trafford on Thursday.
“Usually when I am involved seasons go to the wire,” he said. “I can’t remember many seasons when the last few games we didn’t play for anything. It’s exciting and the win at United was very much needed and gave us a good feeling as well. After that long season, playing Thursday-Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday is a tough one but let’s give it a try.
“We still have the same job to do. The only thing that changed after the Chelsea game was that [winning all remaining games] would be enough. Before that we had to win all our games anyway and it was still not clear that would make a difference.”
Mohamed Salah’s goal against United was his 124th in 200 appearances for Liverpool, one more than Ian Rush scored in his first 200 games for the club. Klopp rated the Egypt international alongside Robert Lewandowski in terms of the most impactful signings of his managerial career.
“There’s Robert Lewandowski, who I signed for a different amount of money years ago, who had an incredible development from a different level,” he said.
“With Mo, from the guy who scores from time to time and is a really good football player to this goalscoring machine is a massive development. He is an outstanding signing, but the way he developed, the way he treats himself, the preparation, that’s exceptional. He’s a real role model.”