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Sadio surprised at being subbed but he had to be.

Byline: CONNOR DUNN ECHO Reporter

JURGEN Klopp has revealed Sadio Mane was surprised at being hauled off at half-time against Atletico Madrid - but maintains the player had "no chance" of avoiding being sent off.

Mane was replaced during the interval of the 1-0 Champions League round of 16 first leg defeat in Spain on Tuesday.

The Senegalese had been booked after a tangle with Sime Vrsaljko during the first half and Klopp admitted he was substituted to prevent him being dismissed after Atletico hounded referee Szymon Marciniak following a subsequent coming together with Angel Correa before the break.

And the Reds boss has now explained Mane's reaction while admitting he was swayed by the approach of Atletico.

"I spoke with him this morning," said Klopp yesterday, speaking ahead of Monday's Premier League visit of West Ham United.

"I asked if he was surprised, and he said yes.

"He said he was not nervous at all and he could deal with it.

"It's good that the player sees it that way but I saw it different. My honest opinion, I don't think he had a chance.

"We need Sadio physical. Sadio doesn't foul, but he has contact with his opponent.

"And both situations, I would say, were made up. It's part of the game, I don't like it too much.

"You cannot avoid situations, but the one they created a minute before half-time, with eight players around him pushing him in the ref's direction, didn't believe we could finish the game with 11 if we kept him on the pitch.

"He was exceptional again, caused problems and I would have loved to have him on the pitch.

He's fine, completely fine. He's rested, which is good again!"

CAPTION(S):

Jurgen Klopp (right) with Sadio Mane at Melwood yesterday JOHN POWELL

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Author:CONNOR DUNN ECHO Reporter
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2020
Words:299
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