Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has hit back at former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg following his controversial comments directed at Jurgen Klopp.
Hamann, 47, has claimed that Clattenburg’s comments are ‘pretty disturbing’ after the ex-official hit out at Klopp following remarks made surrounding Manchester United’s penalty record.
There has been an ongoing debate ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table encounter at Anfield that United have benefitted from the spot significantly more than their Premier League counterparts ahead of the weekend fixture.
However, the comments from Clattenburg have raised bigger concerns dating back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at the Old Trafford helm.
Clattenburg appeared to admit that referees used to favour United while Ferguson was in charge from 1986 to 2013, stating: “He [Klopp] is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions.
“There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.”
Unsurprisingly, such a direct attack on the Liverpool manager has been picked up on and Champions League-winning midfielder Hamann was among the top footballing figures to leap to the defence of Klopp.
“Pretty disturbing to hear that from someone who refereed during Ferguson’s reign, admitting there used to be bias towards Man United,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Naturally, Hamann’s comments have intensified emotions going into Sunday’s gargantuan encounter at the home of the English champions.
Liverpool head into the fixture in an unfamiliar position – in second place. United currently lead the league standings by three points following their 1-0 against Burnley in midweek.
It would seem, then, that this is a match that Klopp and his team simply cannot afford to lose.
The Reds will stretch their unbeaten league run at Anfield to 68 matches if they avoid defeat on Sunday – a record that has stood since April 2017.