Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has apologised to the supporters' groups for the way he reacted to news they intended to withdraw their flags and signs from Anfield in protest against the club's Super League push.
Klopp, writing in his match programme notes today, also admitted he was angry over the "trashing" of the club.
“Clearly I cannot write this column and not address an issue which has dominated the agenda, here and across Europe in the past seven days.
“It is difficult for me in truth, because I have found some of the reaction around it difficult to take. And by this I don't mean those who were against it or the protests. This was a great victory for football supporters – I want to make this clear from the outset. I agreed with their opposition. I made this clear to our owners.
“The part I have struggled with is seeing this club, a place I love and am now proud to call my home, trashed. And done so in a manner which suggests no redemption is possible. That I can't take.
“It was right to take apart the concept and it was fair to criticise it, along with those who came up with it and also how it was presented. All legitimate in my view. The anger and disappointment was justified.
“But there were times when the distinction between 'club' and this decision (and yes, those responsible for it) were too quickly blurred into one. To do so is an insult to the supporters in my view. And the players.
“The supporters' actions have earned them distinction. Likewise the players. And THEY are the club. They always have been and always will be.
“I am not free from blame either for letting emotion get the better of me during this. Particularly after the Leeds United game. When I found out that the flags were being removed from the Kop in protest it hurt me and I reacted in a way I wish I hadn't.
“Of all the things that we have achieved at Liverpool I would argue that the bond between this team and our fans is arguably the most important because without it none of the success we have enjoyed would have been possible.
“So seeing a division appear was very difficult for me to accept. I now better understand the reasons why the supporters groups felt it necessary and I respect them but I would hope that we are never in this kind of situation again. They are always the solution and never the problem.
“It is always up to you to decide the ways in which you do or don't support us, but I also hope you see it as a compliment that even in an empty stadium the flags and banners – that you bring – mean so much to us. This is why I am so happy that they will be there again today. Thank you and sorry if my clumsy words caused you hurt."