LIVERPOOL — Jurgen Klopp has said it is hard to describe the emotions he felt when told about the attack on Liverpool supporter Sean Cox before the Champions League semifinal against Roma at Anfield.
Cox, 53, remains in a critical condition in hospital after being attacked outside the stadium on Tuesday. Two Italian men have been charged and remanded in custody, and will appear at Liverpool Crown Court on May 24.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Klopp said: “I think the game on Tuesday night showed the beauty of the game, and it showed the most ugly face of parts of the game before the game.
“When I heard for the first time about it … I cannot describe my emotions in English, to be honest. That should never have happened, it should never have happened before and it should never happen again in the future.
“We all have to do everything to make sure that things like that will not happen any more. I don’t have the solution, obviously. Nobody has that. It’s just unbelievable that something like that can happen. All our thoughts and prayers are with Sean and his family at the moment.”
Cox is from Meath, Ireland, and Liverpool’s players have requested that a shirt from St Peter’s Dunboyne, his local Gaelic Athletic Association club, be sent to them.
Liverpool, UEFA, Roma and Italian authorities held a meeting in Rome on Friday to discuss safety measures for the thousands of Liverpool supporters expected to travel for Wednesday’s second leg.
The Merseyside club said in a statement that the meeting had been “positive and productive,” with “all those involved displaying intent for a collaborative approach and a commitment to making the event a great sporting occasion.”
“I really hope the people who have to keep everybody safe do their best. In a modern world, that will be possible,” Klopp added. “But I ask for responsibility from everyone, to know that it’s a football game, not more, not less. So let’s play football.
“If Rome win the game and go to the final, they will deserve it. If we go through, we deserve it. That’s all. The rest can be really nice, atmosphere wise, like we had in our stadium — outstanding atmosphere. We expect that in Rome as well.
“Around the stadium? Nobody should think about anything else than the game. I am sure that all the different departments will do everything to ensure that everyone is fine.”
Giovanni Malago, the president of Italy’s Olympic Committee, has condemned the attack, telling a news conference: “My disdain is absolute. It was an unacceptable incident. We need to be of this opinion.
“This incident, and the chain of incidents which characterised those moments before the game, and maybe even inside the stadium, are unacceptable.”
The president of the Lega Serie A, Gaetano Micciche, has dismissed speculation that Roma could be excluded from European competition because of the attack, ANSA reported.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s head of club and supporter liaison, Tony Barrett, has rubbished a report from ANSA that cites police sources warning almost 1,000 Liverpool supporters travelling to Rome are expected to be “at risk'” of trouble.
“Nothing to substantiate this ridiculous claim,” Barrett tweeted. “No intelligence, no quotes, no nothing. If a headline figure is wanted, use this one — zero Liverpool supporters have been arrested in Europe this season.”
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.