Jurgen Klopp’s post-match press conference following Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton was one of the strangest he has been involved in. Frustrated by the result, the German opted to take a dig at rivals Manchester United.
Klopp is one of the most respected managers in world football due to his affable personality and honesty. However, he threw all his principles to the dogs when he targeted the Red Devils.
“I hear now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five and a half years,” Klopp said, as quoted by Goal. “I've no idea if that's my fault, or how that can happen.”
By speaking in this manner, the Liverpool boss only exposed his jealousy towards Manchester United. His dig at the Reds is a begrudging admission that he has been rattled by the recent form of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Liverpool must focus on themselves
It is unknown what Klopp sought to achieve with his wild claims, but the fact is that Liverpool have been woeful in recent weeks. The Anfield outfit is winless in three games and is struggling to break opposition defences.
This is what Klopp should be more concerned about. One can argue that the German’s utterances are mind games but he sounded like a man who has been meaning to call out Manchester United for a long time.
Two weeks ago, Solskjaer’s side was among the Premier League’s title contenders. They have played themselves into contention by going on an impressive run.
Manchester United are currently level on points with Liverpool but will move three points above the Reds if they beat Burnley in their game in hand on Saturday. The fact that United has caught up with Liverpool is what has rattled Klopp.
After years of underachievement, the Red Devils are finally playing some delightful football and they genuinely look like title contenders this year.
Ole’s perfect response to Klopp
There is nothing particularly unusual about feeling threatened by the potential of this Manchester United team. However, to try to attribute their recent form to dubious refereeing and penalties is pure dishonesty from Klopp.
In any case, Liverpool have been awarded five penalties this season in the Premier League – just one less than Manchester United. Leicester City, in comparison, have been awarded 10 penalties.
If Klopp was really concerned about cheap penalties in the Premier League, he would be calling out Leicester City and not Manchester United. Meanwhile, Solskjaer has handled the situation very well by refusing to be drawn into a war of words with Klopp.
“I don’t count how many penalties they have, I don’t spend time on that,” the Norwegian said, as quoted by Goal. "I can’t talk on behalf of other managers and why they say things like this."
"Obviously, I felt it worked last year in the semi in the FA Cup because Frank spoke about it and we had a nailed-on penalty that we should have had that we didn’t get. So maybe it’s a way of influencing referees. I don’t know," added Solskjaer.
Manchester United could be three points ahead of Liverpool by the time both teams clash at Anfield on January 16th. If there’s a manager feeling the pressure of the fixture already, it appears to be Klopp following his uncalled-for rant after Liverpool’s disappointing loss to Southampton.Published 06 Jan 2021, 21:29 IST