Jurgen Klopp said there is no excuse for the racist abuse Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior has repeatedly faced in Spain and said it would be “insane” to try and justify it.
The Brazil winger has been accused of provocation by opposing fans and players with his trickery on the ball and dancing celebrations, but Klopp said that is no reason to treat him in such a way.
The Liverpool manager said: “That he is doing something on the pitch that could cause it? There is nothing in the world that could justify that. Imagine if I say yes, that would be completely insane.”
Vinicius has been racially abused by supporters of Atletico Madrid, Valladolid and Real Mallorca, among others.
He faces Liverpool on Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s Champions League final, when Vinicius scored the winner, and Klopp said: “I am pretty sure that makes him already a Real Madrid legend.”
Klopp is waiting to see if Darwin Nunez will be fit to play after the striker came off injured in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle, when he opened the scoring.
The Uruguayan has a shoulder problem and Klopp said: “There is a chance, from all the possible scenarios, apart from being absolutely nothing. We have to see how he can deal with the pain and after that make a decision.”
The Champions League last-16 tie brings a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti, who Klopp believes is the best man-manager in the business.
He added: “Carlo is the most relaxed manager I met in my life, one of the best people you could meet – fantastic, humble person and nice. His man-management is on a completely different level to anyone. I admire him a lot.”