Monday 23 April 2018

Jurgen Klopp fails to hide anger after dramatic Liverpool draw as he criticises match officials

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Jonathan Liew

Jurgen Klopp tried to conceal his anger at the controversial climax to Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur. Ultimately, he failed. Klopp reserved his harshest words for assistant referee Eddie Smart, who intervened to award a penalty to Tottenham in injury time for a foul by Virgil van Dijk on Erik Lamela. “He obviously wanted to be in the middle of interest,” an unimpressed Klopp said.

The Liverpool manager tried to keep his irritation in check after the game, vowing that “if I say what I think, I would pay the biggest fine in world football”. Ironically, he may yet face some sort of disciplinary action for his comments on Smart.

“I have no problem with making mistakes,” he said. “But it should not be on purpose that you want to make a decision. If you don’t see it, then step aside. In the 93rd minute, you whistle for a penalty when you are 100 per cent sure. Lamela wants the touch. He is on the way down. The softest touch in the whole game decides the game.”

Yet Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted both Tottenham penalties were justly awarded, and congratulated referee Jon Moss on his “amazing” decisions. “When they are right, it is important to show character and congratulate them, because it is a difficult job,” he said. “It’s no controversy, it’s no polemic, it’s nothing wrong. It’s an amazing decision.”

Pochettino also paid tribute to Harry Kane, who shrugged off a penalty miss late in the game to convert his second attempt deep into injury time, reaching 100 Premier League goals in the process. “He’s one of the best strikers,” Pochettino said. “He can miss a penalty, but he has the personality. To score 100 Premier League goals, it’s because you have big, big balls.”

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