Why former Portsmouth and Birmingham City midfielder Aliou Cisse has been in a war of words with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Former Pompey midfielder Aliou Cisse has been in a war of words with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ahead of next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

By Sam Cox
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 12:01 pm

It comes after the Reds chief’s comments on the tournament that will see a number of his star players meet up with their respective countries for its start date on January 9.

And Senegal boss Cisse, who spent two years at Fratton Park, was clearly angered by Klopp’s ‘little tournament’ jibe.

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The now the 45-year-old was also quick to condemn Klopp’s verdict on the tournament.

As per The Daily Express, Cisse said: ‘Who does he think he is? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool. I respect Liverpool but not Klopp who undermines African football events.

‘He is where he is today because of African footballers. He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final.

‘Today, he (Klopp) has the guts to call AFCON a “small tournament”. AFCON has the same number of participants, 24, as the UEFA Euro. So who does he think he is?

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse played for Pompey between 2006-2008. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

‘AFCON will have the same superstars that are currently helping him to shine at Liverpool. AFCON is the same quality as the Euros.’

Cisse, who made 28 appearances for the Blues between 2004 to 2006 following a £300,000 move from Birmingham, is looking to exorcise the demons of AFCON 2019.

After guiding his side to the final, Senegal narrowly lost 1-0 to a Riyad Mahrez-inspired Algeria.

But after the former Pompey’s man’s criticism of Klopp, the Liverpool manager has now clarified that his comments were misconstrued.

‘It’s not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all,’ said Klopp.

‘What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way.

‘I said: “there’s no international break anymore until March’ and I said: ‘Oh and there’s a little tournament in January,” and I didn’t mean a little tournament, just like you say it when there’s still a tournament. It’s ironic.’

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