Thursday 27 June 2019

Jurgen Klopp rejects accusations of Daniel Sturridge cheating as Sean Dyche spat escalates

Burnley manager Sean Dyche and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp clash after the match on Wednesday. REUTERS/Scott Heppell
Burnley manager Sean Dyche and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp clash after the match on Wednesday. REUTERS/Scott Heppell

Andy Kelly

Jurgen Klopp rejected accusations Daniel Sturridge was a cheat as he accused Sean Dyche of attempting to deflect attention away from his own team's actions.

A war of words has continued since Liverpool's 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday after the Liverpool manager suggested post-match some of the home side's sliding tackles were dangerous.

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is facing six weeks out after breaking a bone in his lower leg under a legal challenge from Ben Mee.

Sean Dyche had defended his players, branding Mee's challenge as a “fantastic tackle” and suggested Klopp's criticisms were an attempt to “reinvent the rules”. He also accused Sturridge of cheating after winning a first half free-kick for a challenge from Phil Bardsley where no contact was made.

But speaking at Melwood today, Klopp said: "Daniel Sturridge is no cheat. I think what Sean tried to do there is to bring up another subject so somebody could speak about that.

"I’m not sure if he spoke about the challenge of Bardsley on Alberto Moreno? We all have our own interests and aims. What can I say?

"After that game they are talking about one situation where a player goes down without contact, I don’t know if the referee even judged it? It was a normal situation which can happen, sometimes a striker expects a tackle and tries to avoid it by jumping?

"I can’t avoid it if people want to discuss Daniel, but on the other side I said what I had to say about that after the game, and different opinions are allowed obviously."

Liverpool have the chance to go top of the Premier League with a  lunchtime victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, with leaders Man City facing a tricky visit to Chelsea on Saturday evening.

Injuries are mounting up though with Gomez's absence compounded by the absence of fellow centre-back Dejan Lovren and with Sadio Mane also likely to still be missing. Andrew Robertson will return however after not making the trip to Burnley.

On losing Gomez, he said: "It’s just a shame for the boy. For us of course as well. He was in outstanding shape, he helped us a lot and especially because we could make these changes with Trent and Joe and that was really important because Trent is still a young boy and we cannot push through 20 games in a row.

"Together with Virgil, he improved so much, it was so nice to see that he did exactly what everybody in the scouting department from Liverpool expected him to do.

"[It’s] a bit, I would say, lucky because it could have been worse. Six weeks for us is massive, I can’t even count the games in that period, but that means as well that he will be back for a big part of the season still and that’s good.

"He [Lovren] will not be available. He got a knock last week, concussion, and is still not able to play.

"Like Clyney is out for two weeks or so. Nothing serious, but not in training and so not available.

"Sadio is now out and tries to run first time, so that doesn’t sound like he will be ready for tomorrow. Hopefully he can finish the programme today we did for him.

"Robbo played pretty much most of the games in a very intense position so that’s why we decided to give him - what was it? - eight hours off!"

The injuries mean Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk are Liverpool's only two fit centre-backs as they look to put some pressure on Pep Guardiola's men.

Klopp, though, isn't convinced that City will feel any just yet and expects any visit to the top of the table to last "probably only last a few hours."

"I don't think City will feel pressure. First target is to perform to highest level, needed against Bournemouth. They're in a good moment."

Klopp has delivered Liverpool's best ever start to a league season with 12 wins and three draws in the opening 15 games and despite still trailing City, he believes his team is progressing well.

"So far we showed consistency, which is the most important thing. If you reach a specific level, to improve on it or even stay on it, you need consistency. That’s what the boys do, they are ready for all of the problems in a football game so far."

Naby Keita produced a promising display in midfield at Burnley and Klopp believes Liverpool's patience is being rewarded with the Guinean.

"He needed a bit of time to adapt and that's all. We knew how good he is and it is all about bringing the boys in the right moment.

"We never had any doubt about the quality Naby brings, that is why we waited for him for a year and wanted him so desperately. He is a fantastic player and is a very important player for us as he can make the difference."

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