Atletico Madrid players are reportedly fuming over accusations from Jurgen Klopp that they tried to get Sadio Mane sent off in Liverpool’s defeat to the Spanish outfit on Tuesday night.
The Reds will need to overturn a 1-0 aggregate deficit at Anfield after a frustrating first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Liverpool were stung by a fourth-minute goal from Saul Niguez and – despite dominating possession – were unable to respond as the Spanish side got players behind the ball and sat back.
Klopp admitted after the match that Mane was taken off at half-time because he feared he would pick up a second yellow card and accused some Atletico players of play-acting.
The Liverpool boss said: “It’s part of football, I don’t like it. The plan was to get Sadio out of the game with a yellow card.
“I was afraid that his opponent would go down if Sadio only took a deep breath. After 30 minutes, three Atletico players were on the ground, not even injured.”
And ESPN claims ‘dressing room sources’ have told them that Atletico Madrid players are ‘angry’ over Klopp’s post-match comments.
The report added: ‘ESPN has been told that Atletico’s players are surprised by the complaints, and said it is important to be “gracious” in defeat as well as in victory, and that Klopp should focus more on his own team’s shortcomings, given that they “didn’t get a shot on target in 90 minutes.”‘