Norwich: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he had sympathy for his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in the wake of the English champions' two-year ban from European football dished out by UEFA for allegedly breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
With City's domestic title challenge all but over, with Liverpool 25 points ahead after beating Norwich City 1-0 away on Saturday, Klopp said the news on Friday about the European ban for the Manchester club had taken him by surprise.
"It was a shock. Complete wow!" he told Sky Sports. "The only thing I can say is about football. What they have done on the football pitch is exceptional. The rest, I don't know.
"I really feel for them, Pep and the players, but that is how it is. They can appeal so we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious.
"But the football they played was exceptional and will always be exceptional."
Manchester City have been barred from competing in European club soccer competitions for the next two seasons and fined 30 million euros ($32.5 million) by European soccer's governing body UEFA after being found guilty of "serious breaches" of its financial fair play rules.
In a statement confirming the decision on Friday, UEFA said: "Having considered all the evidence, Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016."
UEFA also accused the club of refusing to cooperate in the investigation.
"The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club, directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (i.e. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of 30 million euros," the governing body said.
City denied any wrongdoing and said they will appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).(With inputs from Agencies)