Jurgen Klopp praises Neymar's 'smart' play-acting in build up to PSG clash 1 year ago

Jurgen Klopp praises Neymar's 'smart' play-acting in build up to PSG clash

Liverpool welcome PSG to Anfield this week in the Champions League

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has defended Neymar's on-pitch theatrics, labelling his simulation 'clever', in a sensational pre-match press conference.

Due to Neymar's style of play, and his quality when running with the ball at top speed, he is prone to being fouled, and has been criticised heavily for exaggerating contact, with many labelling him a cheat.

In the World Cup especially, the Brazilian was widely scrutinised for his supposed play-acting on the pitch during Brazil's quarter-final against Belgium.

Neymar will come up against Liverpool's defence this Tuesday in the opening round of Champions League group stage fixtures, and Klopp has come out in defence of Neymar's actions, claiming he is clever to do so.

"I don’t know exactly what you are talking about," Klopp said during his pre-match press conference.

“I saw a few games at the World Cup when it looked like he made a bit more of the situation. That’s a completely normal reaction because players are really going for him. That’s the truth.

“He has to protect himself. If the opponent gets a yellow card he is closer to a red card. It is smart."

Klopp also assured fans that Liverpool will not target Neymar during the game.

"We don’t go for him against us. We want to play football. We want to win the ball. We don’t try to act on these type of things," the German said.

“We try to avoid passes to him. It’s a big job. I don’t know if it’s possible to avoid his quality. I’m pretty sure it’s not."

Neymar will start up against Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold on Tuesday night - which will be the young full-back's biggest test yet.

Liverpool will be confident of their chances of beating the French champions though, having reached last season's final.