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Klopp shocked by Man City’s Champions League ban

The German coach was taken back by the news that his side’s rivals will be absent from Europe for the next two seasons

Jurgen Klopp says he was shocked by the news of Manchester City‘s two-year suspension from the Champions League and says he sympathises with coach Pep Guardiola.

City were suspended and fined £25 million ($33m) for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, though the club will appeal against UEFA’s decision.

City said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the punishment, but Friday’s announcement that left Liverpool boss Klopp in shock.

“It was a shock. Complete wow,” Klopp said when asked for his reaction.

“The only thing I can say is about football. What they have done on the football pitch is exceptional. The rest, I don’t know. You believe the people you work with, that’s how it is.

“I really feel for them, Pep and the players, but that is how it is. They can appeal so we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious. But the football they played was exceptional and will always be exceptional.”

While their rivals will be absent from Europe’s premier competition next season, Klopp’s team confirmed their place with a 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday.

Sadio Mane’s goal just 12 minutes before the end of the clash at Carrow Road stretched their winning streak to 17 top-flight games and their advantage at the top of the table to 25 points.

Klopp was not entirely satisfied with his side’s performance as they gave away too much space against the hosts.

“It was a difficult game for different reasons. The wind, the organisation of the opponent and the way we played first half made it tricky for us,” he told Sky Sports.

“The distance between the line was too big, too early with the long ball, no second player around to collect the second ball. It was not exactly like we wanted to do. The counter press was not there because we didn’t push up enough, so football. We still had nice situations, good set pieces but not really much more.

“Fabinho coming on was very important for the organisation. Saido was fresh and he helped us to win the game, which was outstanding. I have to watch the goal back but I’m pretty sure it was a fantastic finish.

“I could tell in all the players faces that they weren’t nervous, they were enjoying it, and if one team was going to score it was going to be us. We protected against the counter attack well too. It’s really all about these wonderful football players.

“The gap is so insane, I don’t really understand it. I’m not smart enough. I’ve not had that before. It’s outstanding, it’s so difficult. I go back into the changing room and we chat about the things and then I’m like oh, but congratulations. We won the game, another three points.”

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