Jurgen Klopp has played down Sadio Mane’s handshake snub at full-time, explaining that it was due to a late decision in training to play Diogo Jota against Manchester United.
As is customary after a game, the Liverpool manager shook hands or bumped fists with players from both sides after their 4-2 win at Old Trafford.
But as Klopp approached Mane – who had come off the bench, having been replaced by Jota in the starting XI – the forward refused to shake his hand, instead uttering some angry words in his manager’s direction.
Klopp played down the incident when questioned after the game, telling Sky Sports: “No, no problem. Yesterday I made a late decision in training to decide for Diogo. The boys are used to me explaining things usually but there was actually no time for that and that’s all. It’s all fine.”
Souness: Mane snub disrespectful
Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness said Mane’s snub of his manager showed both a disrespect to Klopp and to the club as a whole, and added the player could have no qualms with the Reds’ line-up given their four-goal haul at Old Trafford.
He said: “It’s disrespectful. It’s never happened to me but if I were the manager, I would not be happy. I think he should have shaken his hand, he didn’t want to cuddle, but you should show a bit of respect. It’s most importantly disrespectful to the football club.
“Yeah, he’s not happy at being left out, but can he really argue? He’s not had a great season, how can he argue with the fact he’s been a sub and Liverpool have won 4-2 at Old Trafford which is not a happy hunting ground for them.”
Fellow pundit and another ex-manager Roy Keane agreed, but questioned why managers had begun to embrace their players at full-time as a matter of course – and said Sir Alex Ferguson would never have done the same while he was a player at Manchester United.
He said: “The player is out of order, but there’s a new trend among managers – going on the pitch, giving everyone high fives. When I was a player, I didn’t want the manager giving me high fives.
“If we’d won the league, maybe, but even then I’d be doubtful. If he sees the player’s upset, just back away. It’s bad enough your manager, but the opposition manager going round and giving everyone high fives.”
Klopp: We fought hard and we deserved it
It was a vital win for Liverpool, reigniting their push for the top four. The three points see them into fifth with three games to play, and Klopp registered his first victory at Old Trafford.
The manager added to Sky Sports: “Great fight, good game, intense, as all derbies should be. Our first win at Old Trafford since I’m at Liverpool and good timing, I would say. We needed it, obviously. We fought hard for it and we deserved it.
“There were only good performances, to be honest. You saw that our two centre-halves were shaking a little bit at the beginning of the game, you could see it with their passing, but from the moment when they were in the game, when they forgot everything around them, they played really well.
“Trent was in proper shape tonight and played pretty much everything.
“They couldn’t chip the ball through to Bruno Fernandes anymore and step by step we got control of the game. It was of course tricky at 3-2 but we scored that fourth goal. We needed that. It was very intense. I really thought the midfield played outstandingly well. When Curtis Jones came on he helped a lot. It was good.”
Solskjaer: Liverpool deserved to win
For Man Utd, they were playing their second Premier League game in two days after the original fixture against Liverpool on May 2 was postponed after anti-Glazer fan protests.
They were also without captain Harry Maguire, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer disappointed that United let in goals at vital points in the match.
He told Sky Sports: “They deserved the win. We conceded goals in key moments of the game, just before half-time, just after the second half started and of course towards the end.
“We didn’t build on our momentum or break up their momentum. We gave them three goals, really. We scored again and we had momentum, we had a massive double chance, but key moments went against us.
“Their shape and their pressing is very good but we created our own downfall.
“Harry’s been really important for us. He’s been absolutely top since he came to the club. So of course we’re going to miss him. But he’s out so we’ve got to deal with that. We’ve got good enough players to be able to do with it. So now it’s about regrouping and starting to build our confidence and momentum again.
“The attitude was right, the focus was right. I saw in the boys that we were ready for it but key moments went against us and we didn’t build on the good times we had in the game.
“We need to find ourselves straight away. We’ve got Fulham on Tuesday. We don’t have a lot of preparation time but we should go into that final ready because I expect Tuesday will be a good one.
“Five days, three league games, of course it disrupts us a little bit. It’s not been ideal but we’ve had to deal with it. We’ve come through it now and hopefully when we can let the fans in on Tuesday it will be a good atmosphere here. We’ve been waiting for a long, long time to let them in so it’s about time we enjoyed a game together.”