The 2018 UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool was rife with controversy and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has, after two months, chosen to slam the man in the eye of the storm—Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos— for injuring Mohamed Salah and causing Lorius Karius’s concussion.
Ramos has an edge to his game that has seen him become one of the greatest defenders of all time, but at times the Spaniard’s turned to the dark arts to ensure his side’s victory.
The 32-year-old has had a history with sending offs, but remarkably escaped even a caution for his actions in the Champions League final.
While Real were undoubtedly favourites to clinch their third European crown on the trot, Liverpool had wowed Europe and were very much in the mix, especially with Egyptian sensation Salah leading the charge.
Ramos, however, had other ideas as his ‘judo tackle’ challenge on the Reds winger saw Salah come off the pitch in tears early in the tie and from then on, Liverpool were always up against it.
The Real Madrid skipper and centre-back wasn’t done as he then barged into Karius during a corner and if Liverpool are to be believed, caused a concussion for the German custodian.
Post the interval, Karius made two glaring errors to effectively end Liverpool’s with Real running out 3-1 winners on the night.
“We are opening that bottle again?”, the German tactician replied at his presser ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United in Michigan.
Liverpool, long after the final had taken place, released medical findings that revealed Karius had indeed suffered a concussion during the clash with Real Madrid.
“It is action-reaction-action-reaction and I don’t like that but – if you watch it back and you are not with Real Madrid – then you think it is ruthless and brutal.”
And Klopp wasn’t happy with match referee Milorad Mazic either, calling out the official for not being brave enough to send off a player of Ramos’s stature in a high-stakes clash.
“I saw the ref taking charge of big games at the World Cup and nobody really thinks about that later. But in a situation like that somebody needs to judge it better. If VAR is coming then it is a situation where you have to look again. Not to give a red card but to look again and say: ‘What is that?’ It was ruthless.”
The German tactician has, repeatedly, stated that he’s not giving excuses for his side’s crushing defeat in Kiev, but just stating the facts
“I’m not sure it is an experience we will have again – go there and put an elbow to the goalkeeper, put their goalscorer down like a wrestler in midfield and then you win the game. That was the story of the game.”
And Klopp was unhappy with Ramos’ post-game comments as well, slating the defender for having an indifferent attitude.
“Ramos said a lot of things afterwards that I didn’t like. As a person I didn’t like the reactions of him. He was like: ‘Whatever, what do they want? It’s normal.’ No, it is not normal. If you put all of the situations of Ramos together then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos. The year before against Juve he was responsible for the red card for (Juan) Cuadrado. Nobody talks about that afterwards. It is like we, the world out there, accepts that you use each weapon to win the game. People probably expect that I am the same. I am not.”
Currently in the United States for their pre-season tour, Liverpool take on familiar foes Manchester United on Saturday night. So far, they have had an impressive summer, losing just once.
Notably, they beat Manchester City 2-1 on Thursday and after a summer in which they have added considerable quality in goal, midfield and attack, the Reds are being touted as the side to challenge the Sky Blues for the league title.
“We are aggressive but I always use the word legal as well. Usually if you try something you will get punished. Someone will see it and ban you for four or five weeks. But in this example, no one. This ref should have had the courage to decide that game. In this situation we didn’t get it and, if you write this, people will say I am weak or a bad loser or a whiner. I am not. I accept it. It’s not like I wake up in the morning and think: ‘Ramos!’In a final you need to have a bit of luck and we didn’t have it. They had luck in different situations and we didn’t. They scored a bicycle kick, come on! We all know [Gareth] Bale can do that but he probably put more balls from that situation in the stands than in the goal. If that’s not luck then I don’t know what is. Then the situation around Loris.”
After facing familiar foes United, Liverpool take on Italian sides Torino and Napoli before their 2018/19 Premier League season opener against West Ham United on August 12.