(FILE) - Liverpool's Joe Gomez (L) in action against Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (R) during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, Britain, 07 October 2018 (re-issued 12 November 2019). The England national soccer team dropped Raheem Sterling following a clash with teammate Joe Gomez at the England camp, British media reports claimed on 12 November 2019. EPA/PETER POWELL EDITORIAL

LONDON: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Friday that defender Joe Gomez was “better than good” after his altercation with England teammate Raheem Sterling earlier this month.

Manchester City forward Sterling initially clashed with Reds defender Gomez towards the end of the Premier League match between the sides on November 10 at Anfield.

The pair were then involved in a fracas the following day on England duty, with Sterling later apologising at a team meeting and on social media.

Sterling subsequently sat out England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro as punishment but returned to the starting line-up in the 4-0 victory over Kosovo on Sunday.

Klopp said Gomez, who was left with a scratch on his face following the clash, was fine and the German had no issues with how the situation was handled.

“He is good, better than good,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference, anxious to downplay the incident.

“The people involved were fine pretty quick,” he added. “Things like this happen in a football environment, that’s how it is.”

“(England manager) Gareth (Southgate) and the English FA (Football Association) dealt with it in a way they thought was right and I cannot judge that because I was not in the situation but the most important thing is that the players are absolutely OK.”

The Liverpool boss said it was good to see Jose Mourinho back in the Premier League after he replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the Tottenham hot seat but had warm words for the Argentine.

“Welcome back Jose,” said Klopp. “It’s nice to have him back. He was desperate you could see (to return) in the time when he was not in.

“But on the other side of course Mauricio is not there any more and that shows how quick things change nowadays. That’s how it is. I think it was only around about five months ago we played each other in the Champions League final.

“And now he’s on holiday and I hope he can enjoy it to be honest. He did a brilliant job at Tottenham. Nobody doubts that.”

Liverpool are eight points clear of second-placed Leicester at the top of the Premier League and nine ahead of defending champions Manchester City but Klopp played down the notion of title talk.

“We don’t think about the title race,” he said. “The biggest challenge is facing constant questions about it.

“Apart from that so far it’s a normal season.”

“We play as good as we can, we try to get as many points as we can and the challenges are the... games we have to play and the next one is Crystal Palace.” - AFP