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It all got a bit Messi.

Byline: IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Writer ian.doyle@reachplc.com @IANDOYLESPORT

ANDY ROBERTSON has admitted regret over his Champions League confrontation with Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

And the Liverpool defender has provided insight into why Jurgen Klopp chose to substitute Sadio Mane at Atletico Madrid in midweek.

Robertson has been an integral part of the Reds side that has become European and world champions and stands 19 points clear at the Premier League summit.

The left-back is a huge crowd favourite, not least with his obvious desire to win and willingness to stand up for his team-mates.

But Robertson admits he stepped over the line when he ruffled the hair of Messi during the opening moments of the famous 4-0 Champions League semifinal win at Anfield last season. "When I look back on things I don't really regret anything because I feel as if everything is experience that makes you what you are," he said. "But I do look back on that moment with Messi as one regret. I don't like seeing it. When I saw it afterwards I was gutted.

"I have nothing but respect for him and Barcelona, but needed something special and if that little thing stopped the best player in the world playing to his highest potential...

"But I do regret it. That's not me as a person. That's not my personality. Maybe I went over the line."

Robertson also discussed his flashpoint with Flamengo's Rafinha during the FIFA Club World Cup final in December. The Brazilian had agitated Sadio Mane with antics that saw the Liverpool forward booked, leading Robertson to inform his team-mate: "I'll get him, don't worry."

And the explanation behind Mane's reaction also shed light on why Klopp chose to replace the forward at half-time against Atletico Madrid last week to prevent him being sent off having been booked towards the break.

"Everyone knows Sadio has maybe got a temper on him at times," said Robertson. "I know how to deal with Sadio. That was me trying to calm my own team-mate down.

"I know sometimes things can affect Sadio. In that game he got targeted. So if I were to say something short and sharp to Sadio, it might have a little effect. We're a family and if one of them is getting targeted then we will all back them up.."

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Writer ian.doyle@reachplc.com @IANDOYLESPORT
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Feb 24, 2020
Words:390
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