Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Tuesday said he knew the club’s appeal to reduce Sadio Mane’s three-match suspension would be “a waste of time”.
The Senegal winger was shown a straight red card during Liverpool’s 5-0 loss away to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday after his high boot caught goalkeeper Ederson in the face.
Liverpool’s appeal to have the immediate three-game ban reduced was rejected by a Football Association disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
Mane, 25, will now be suspended for Liverpool’s Premier League match against Burnley and the league and League Cup ‘double-header’ with Leicester City.
However, Mane will be available for Liverpool’s opening Champions League fixture against Sevilla at Anfield on Wednesday, and Klopp, speaking on the eve of the match with the Spanish side, knew the appeal on behalf of Mane would end in failure.
“I didn’t expect something different,” Klopp said. “It was really our duty to appeal. But it was a waste of time obviously.
“Our appeal was right because we would have appealed the red card but we didn’t.
“We only appealed the length of the suspension. I never thought it would happen but only because I am used to it to things like this. There were a lot of situations which were similar.”
– ‘Sadio was not lucky’ –
The German manager added: “All the other players were lucky only Sadio was not lucky. And obviously Ederson was not lucky. It looks really awful and he was also lucky nothing more serious happened.”
Klopp maintained that Mane did not deliberately set out to injure Ederson and felt he should have had one game taken off his ban.
“There was not even a percentage of Sadio which wanted to put the goalkeeper in danger. He wanted to get the ball and it’s important he does that in the next few games,” Klopp insisted.
“We cannot change this and it’s a sport where this happens. It’s like it is. I don’t blame the ref for the decision. If I saw the boy bleeding I would have made the same decision.
“But one game less would have been right.”
Klopp confirmed Philippe Coutinho will be in his squad to face Sevilla, having not featured for the Reds this season following injury problems that came amid sustained interest from Spanish giants Barcelona in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to take the Brazilian playmaker to the Camp Nou.
The Reds will check on the fitness of Mohamed Salah who did not train Tuesday due to illness, while Loris Karius will start in goal ahead of Simon Mignolet against the La Liga club.
“What I can say is that if nothing happens overnight, then Loris Karius will play,” Klopp said.
Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo believes his players will be inspired rather than daunted by the famous atmosphere at Anfield on European nights.
When questioned if the home of five-time European champions Liverpool had a created any fear among his side, Berizzo said: “I think it is the opposite. Players of a certain level and personality grow when they come to a stadium and atmosphere like this, they grow in strength.
“Few times in your career do you get to play in front of an atmosphere like this. I am confident the players in my squad are very brave and honest, with lots of character and personality.”
Sevilla are without winger Nolito, who has a thigh problem, while on-loan Schalke midfielder Johannes Geis has been sidelined through injury.