Following the uproar over Diego Simeone ‘avoiding’ Jurgen Klopp‘s handshake after Liverpool’s last meeting with Atletico Madrid, the manager has explained his stance.
After the Reds’ 3-2 win at the Wanda Metropolitano last month, Simeone was perceived to have run down the tunnel in defiance of Klopp’s offer of a post-match handshake.
It was soon apparent, though, that this was simply a custom the Atletico manager follows every game, rather than a direct attack on his Liverpool counterpart.
This became a sideshow to an enthralling game of football, and ahead of the return fixture at Anfield, it was no surprise that Simeone was asked about the situation again.
“I’ve already explained myself after the first match,” he told reporters, as relayed by the Mirror.
“I don’t like the handshake greetings after the match as they are the emotions of two different sides in different emotional minds.
“So I don’t like that greeting after the match.
“I know in the UK it is a custom and all about chivalry, but I don’t share it and I don’t like the falseness. So I behave as I feel.
“I don’t know Klopp as a person, but he is a great coach and has been great everywhere he has been.
“I don’t give an opinion on other teams, we are coaches and we all have to respect that.”
Speaking in his own pre-match press conference, Klopp accepted the situation and insisted it was not a big deal.
“How I said after the game, if I would have known he doesn’t do it – and I didn’t know – I wouldn’t have tried it,” he said.
“I tried and I was waving or whatever, that was not necessary of me – I was really not happy about that. But we are both emotional, that was my emotion then.
“Now I know he doesn’t want to do it after the game, so no problem.
“Before the game, we shook hands, so we will do that probably tomorrow night as well, I assume. After the game not – fine, absolutely no problem, then we can all go home happily, at least in that department.
“But in between the two handshakes, it’s a very important game for us, and that’s what I’m much more concerned about.”
Liverpool can clinch a place in the last 16 with victory over Atletico, who are expected to have only 200 fans in attendance due to concerns over COVID-19 and travel.
Klopp is hoping his side can benefit from home advantage this time around, in a “massive game against a super side.”
“It will be a tough one, we know that, but it’s our home ground and we want other teams to feel that as well,” he continued.
“We want to create a very special atmosphere tomorrow night, in a highly emotional game.
“Not only are the managers emotional, the players are as well, both teams are really determined, great attitude, fight for everything and that’s what we will probably see tomorrow night.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a massive game against a super side, but we are not too bad as well.”