Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has lambasted Jurgen Klopp over his penalty jibe towards Manchester United, labelling the Liverpool boss a ‘hypocrite’.
Following the Reds’ 1-0 defeat at Southampton last week, Klopp argued that his team should have been awarded more penalties using Manchester United’s recent fortunes from the spot to make his case.
Clattenburg on Klopp
The Liverpool boss avoided punishment from the FA following his comments, but Clattenburg has claimed that Klopp’s comments are an attempt to sway officials ahead of the encounter with Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
“Jurgen Klopp must be getting worried, because his comments last week about Manchester United and penalties were straight out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s playbook,”, he wrote in his column for The Mail.
“It was mind games — an attempt to influence referee Paul Tierney and get inside his head before a huge match between Liverpool and United this Sunday.
“But let’s be clear: there is no conspiracy on the part of referees and officials. Was Klopp insinuating there is? Or was he suggesting United have players who are encouraged to dive?
“If his intention was the former, then I’ve got no time for that. It simply is not true. First, he sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United’s players are looking to win penalties.
“The likes of [Mohamed] Salah and [Sadio] Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics.
“He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game. Klopp wasn’t doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.
“He does not like losing, he never has. He gets prickly. But he is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions.”
What RTK has to say
If we’re being honest, it’s pretty pathetic swipe from Clattenburg’s part. Klopp has every right to feel a sense of injustice towards his team given what has already transpired this season.
Not only has the Liverpool boss seen his squad decimated to its core this season, but a number of on-field decisions have cost the Reds dearly this term.
Controversial calls in matches against Everton and Brighton quickly spring to mind.
Indeed, Liverpool cannot blame officials for their lacklustre performances in their previous three matches. However, Klopp does make some interesting points.
For one, the incident between Kyle Walker-Peters and Sadio Mane was no different to the decision to award United a penalty following a tangling between Paul Pogba and Douglas Luiz only a few days prior.
The main issue is consistency between refereeing decisions. It seems the rule of law is applied only when it suits, which naturally, causes confusion for players and managers alike.
Yes, Klopp hasn’t always covered himself in glory when it comes to his post-match comments, but you can understand the frustration with a number of baffling decisions this season.
Clattenburg’s comments are just a cheap dig at a manager who is desperately trying to defend his league title amid an ongoing injury crisis as well as a global pandemic.
We shouldn’t read into the former official’s comments too much, then. Let’s hope the football will be the main talking point when Liverpool and United lock horns on Sunday.