Jurgen Klopp Aims Dig at Man United as Crunch Clash Approaches

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In the loss to Southampton FC last night Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was unhappy about Sadio Mane not winning a penalty kick off a challenge from Kyle Walker-Peters in the box. Additionally, Klopp believed that Saints’ Jack Stephens committed a handball foul, which should/would have awarded a penalty kick to Liverpool.

In stating how these calls/non-calls really grinded his gears, Klopp threw in a not-so-subtle sideswipe at Manchester United, ahead of their massive fixture at Anfield in 12 days time.

“The best situations we had were with Sadio [Mane] having the ball at his feet,” Klopp said.

“For anyone to say he is a diver is the biggest joke in the world. He tries to stay on his feet. He had two situations where other teams would get a penalty for it.

“It looked like a pretty clear penalty. I turned around to the fourth official and he said, ‘We already checked. No penalty.’ If someone could tell me how they checked it so fast…. I heard that Man United has more penalties in the last two years than I have had in five years.

“I don’t know if that’s my fault but that’s no excuse for the performance.”

A slamming of referee Andre Mariner there, and some shade thrown at the club’s biggest rival/the side that is level on points with them at the top of table right now. According to ESPN, the Football Association will not be taking any punitive action against Klopp for his comments.

manchester united liverpool

Klopp is correct with his statistics, since he replaced Brendan Rodgers as boss of Liverpool in October of 2015, his team have won 30 penalties in the Premier League. Since the start of the 2018-19 season, United have won 32 penalties.

Of course, there is other math to take into consideration. For the record, United have won six penalties this season and converted five of them. That is only one more than Liverpool, who have won five and converted all of them.

Klopp is doing this, probably, to play some mind games ahead of the big match coming up. United are first in the league in points per match, and they only trail Liverpool due to goal differential. Should they draw or better against Burnley a week from tonight, they’ll be in first place all by themselves when the two sides meet.

Another thing Klopp is doing here is deflecting attention from his side’s recent slide. While yes, he has publicly acknowledged the skid his team is now in, the German certainly doesn’t want that to get blown out of proportion by the media and fans, and the best way to prevent that is to simply call attention to something else.

Liverpool are winless in their last three Premier League fixtures and they won just two of the last six in league play.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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