Saturday 23 September 2017

'If he goes down it’s 100% a penalty' - Jurgen Klopp claims Philippe Coutinho could have had a penalty in Palace loss

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICK / Getty Images
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICK / Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho would have been awarded a penalty if he had gone to ground instead of evading the challenge of Martin Kelly in the second-half of Liverpool's 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

After Christian Benteke had given the Palace the lead after 74 minutes, Coutinho had made his way past several Palace defenders before he was clipped in the box by Kelly before his follow up shot was blocked by James Tomkins.

Klopp said it was a difficult situation but that if the Brazilian has gone to ground his side would have been awarded the penalty.

"There was a lot of bodies in the box which was difficult, [but] we had the situation where if he goes down it’s a penalty 100%," Klopp told Sky Sports in his post-match interview.

"What can I say? He thought 100 per cent if he stays up can finish with his next touch.

"In midfield, you wait one second to see if the player can take the advantage, he couldn't, it's a free-kick. It's a free-kick in midfield so maybe then it's a penalty. Anyway it doesn't matter now."

Coutinho had given the hosts the lead after 24 minutes with a stunning free-kick before Benteke equalised just three minutes before the break.

The Belgian international had scored five times in seven matches against the Reds before Sunday's match, and he soon made it seven goals from eight when he popped up unmarked outside the six-yard from a Crystal Palace corner.

The former Red managed to get on the end of a low Andros Townsend cross that had made it by several Liverpool defenders before Benteke headed the ball past a hapless Simon Mignolet.

Klopp was dumbfounded when giving his description of the goal, but insisted that Liverpool must now win there remaining games if they have any aspirations of playing Champions League football next season.

"Unbelievable," added Klopp. "This goal.. it’s.. I don’t know exactly.. I know what happened, but I don’t know why, and of course there's no reason for it."

"But then it’s half-time, 1-1, and after the corner we miss one ball, so it’s not about defending a set-piece, it’s only because we missed the ball at the first post.

"Christian [Benteke] is there again, and of course, scores a pretty easy goal for him, and then we had to do obviously what Crystal Palace wanted us to do – to play in and around their box.

"We had moments in the box, possibilities to shoot but obviously it wasn’t clear enough. It was difficult. We could have done better but we didn’t do it so we have to take it.

"We have two days to recover from this and we will. The next opportunity against Watford will be difficult again next week, but if we want to go to the Champions League we have to win these last games."

The loss leaves Liverpool three points clear of fifth placed Manchester United who also have two games in hand.

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