Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp responded angrily to suggestions that he had "insulted" Africans by referring to the continent's Cup of Nations as a "little tournament".
Klopp oversaw a routine 2-0 Champions League win for his team against Porto at Anfield on Wednesday night, which continued their perfect record in the tournament thus far this season.
Afterwards, however, Klopp was questioned by an angry journalist about a different competition - the Africa Cup of Nations which will take place from January 9 to February 6 in Cameroon.
Crucially for Liverpool, the continental showpiece will mean they are set to without stars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who will be called up for their respective countries.
That will deprive the Reds of crucial firepower during a crunch part of their Premier League campaign.
Klopp has bemoaned the upcoming absence of his African stars, and recently described the AFCON tournament as "little".
Klopp was confronted about those comments on Wednesday night by a journalist who claimed he had "insulted" Africans with the remarks.
"I think it's an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people on the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology," said the angry reporter.
In response, Klopp said he had simply meant the phrase "ironically".
"What I meant was, if you watch the whole press conference then you might have understood it the right way if you wanted to, because I said there are no international breaks until March now," the German fired back.
"I said 'oh there's a little tournament in January' and I didn't mean a little tournament, I was just saying it's still a tournament, it's ironic. It's still a tournament, a big one. We lose our best players to that tournament..."
Whether he likes it or not, Klopp and Liverpool will still have to contend with the loss of some key names come January as they battle on the Premier League front.