Written by Staff Writer
Under-pressure Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was set to face music from his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp on Wednesday after tempers boiled over at Anfield on Saturday.
Following a 2-1 defeat to their bitter rivals, Arteta remonstrated with Klopp, the former Liverpool midfielder, after the German had appeared to claim his side had been “mugged off” when goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were disallowed.
By the time tempers had cooled, there was very little the two managers could say to each other, but Arteta was still unable to control his temper when confronted by former Manchester City team-mate Daniel Sturridge.
Revealing details behind a touchline altercation in the moments before Chelsea’s last Premier League game of the season, Arteta says Klopp told him that Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets had just said: “I think Klopp should have got a red card.”
“I told him, ‘What do you mean? You didn’t get a red card. That’s not true. That’s not true, your guy does not get a red card.’”
“He said to me, ‘My player said I got a red card’ and I said to him ‘Do you think you’re here to talk about a yellow card or a red card?’”
“He said to me, ‘No no, there was no red card, my player is not getting a red card,’ and I said, ‘Look, I know you got a yellow card, but this is all lies. You are not defending a fair play.’
“And I looked at (Liverpool striker) Daniel Sturridge and I said, ‘Daniel Sturridge is looking at me and he knows what you are saying.’ Sturridge said, ‘So you are defending a yellow card?’ I said, ‘No Daniel, I’m defending a fair play. You know what your last name is but you’re not here to defend a yellow card.’
“He was saying something else. He was shouting at me.”
Elsewhere in that altercation, Arteta, who used to play alongside Sturridge for City, spotted the England international getting changed behind a dugout: “As soon as I look at Daniel Sturridge, I see a shadow.”
“And I say, ‘Look at Sturridge. Nobody is behind him. Why is he behind?’ And he says, ‘Because he’s doing his deodorant.’
“I said, ‘It’s in your place but where is the shadow? Where is the shadow?’”
Arteta declined to name which player he claims said “What Busquets said: ‘I think Klopp should have got a red card’. The whole stadium was laughing. I’m laughing and laughing, but I told him, ‘You have to be calm with him’.
When asked if he thought it was a late substitution, Arteta replied, “You are talking to a really intelligent man. I asked him, ‘Why did you change?’”
Speaking about clashes with Klopp and Klopp’s assistant Zeljko Buvac in former club Valencia, Arteta added: “He’s a defensive player, you see how they are in fighting against the opposition and I asked them, ‘Are you trying to win the game?’ And they say ‘No, I think you should stay at the back,’ they know exactly the tactics.
“It’s better for the two coach than me talking. I’m not trying to defend them. I think it’s better for the coach than for me. They are good coaches so I think it’s better for the players who are defending to look up and watch.”