Jurgen Klopp has said he would “hate myself” if his recent comments about Manchester City‘s spending power were rooted in xenophobia.

The Liverpool manager has been forced to defend himself against accusations of xenophobia following an anonymous briefing connected to City after Sunday’s 1-0 Anfield victory against the Premier League champions.

City sources told ESPN and other media outlets that the club hierarchy believed Klopp’s comments — he said “nobody can compete with City” — to be xenophobic in relation to the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owners. City declined to go on the record with the accusation when asked by ESPN.

But speaking in a news conference at Liverpool‘s training ground ahead of Wednesday’s league game at West Ham United, Klopp said the claims were unfounded.

“In this specific case, I don’t feel hit at all,” Klopp said. “I know myself and you cannot hit me with something that is miles away from my personality.

“If I would be like this, I actually can’t remember the word [xenophobic], I would hate myself for being like this.

“A lot of times I say things that are open for misunderstanding, I know it, but it’s not intentional. Sometimes you say things and then later you realise ‘oh my God! that could be understood [differently] but this is not one of those times. It was not.

“Obviously not all of you journalists see it the same way. Some chief writers see it differently. It’s an open world, obviously and we can have different views. That is how it is, so nothing else to say.”

Klopp, who has until Friday to respond to an FA charge of improper conduct after being sent off against City, said that his comments were misunderstood and misinterpreted.

“That is [the] life of people who speak in public,” Klopp said. “It is not the first time I am misunderstood. I know what I thought when I said it. When someone misunderstands, I cannot help that.

“I know I have to be careful and when I’m not I realise it. I try to do it [be careful] in the future. I say what I know or I judge it how it I see it.

“It started with a question and I answered it and all the rest was made of it. I know what I thought and put it in perspective and said how much I respect what they are doing and it was still not right for some.”

Despite Liverpool issuing a statement condemning “vile chants” by the City supporters relating to the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters, there has so far been no similar condemnation from within the Etihad, which Klopp refused to discuss when asked.

“This kind of question I would like not to answer,” he said. “We responded as a club, I think it is what we have to do. Apart from that, everything from a non-native English speaker, everything would be open to misinterpretation again.”

The fallout from Sunday’s game, which also saw claims that Guardiola was hit by coins thrown from the stand and the City bus targeted with objects on its way out of Liverpool, has added another chapter to the increasingly hostile relationship between the two clubs.

And Klopp admitted that it is unrealistic to expect all clubs to be on friendly terms.

“I am not sure we have to be best friends with other clubs,” he said. “I am not sure anybody wants to be best friends with us.

“Respect? A question I can’t even answer because I have no idea. You have to ask that to the people at City.”

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