MARK CLATTENBURG: Stop being a hypocrite Jurgen, your guys dive too! Klopp’s bid to pressure referees with Manchester United jibe is straight out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s playbook – the Liverpool boss must be getting worried
- Jurgen Klopp has been vocal on his belief Manchester United get more penalties
- It was mind games – a blatant attempt to try and influence referee Paul Tierney
- Let’s be clear – there is no conspiracy on the part of referees and officials
- It is valid to highlight the ease with which United players do gown in the box
Jurgen Klopp must be getting worried, because his comments last week about Manchester United and penalties were straight out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s playbook.
It was mind games — an attempt to influence referee Paul Tierney and get inside his head before a huge match between Liverpool and United this Sunday.
Klopp was correct when he said United have won more penalties in two years than Liverpool have in his five and a half at Anfield. He was smart, because his comments could not get him into trouble with the authorities.
Jurgen Klopp must be getting worried about Manchester United after his comments last week
But let’s be clear: there is no conspiracy on the part of referees and officials. Was Klopp insinuating there is? Or was he suggesting United have players who are encouraged to dive?
If his intention was the former, then I’ve got no time for that. It simply is not true.
But if he was highlighting the ease with which some United players go down in the penalty area then, yes, I believe he was making a valid point. Even if it does ignore similar suspicions about some of his stars.
I have watched United closely this season and analysed each of their 11 penalty awards.
There are as many as five where I believe contact was invited or even initiated by the United player.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood are the players involved.
They are, in many ways, being clever.
Once there is contact and the penalty is awarded, VAR will rarely overturn the decision.
Sadio Mane was brought down under a challenge from Kyle Walker-Peters inside the area
Klopp bemoaned how many penalties rivals Manchester United get compared with Liverpool
MARK CLATTENBURG’S VERDICT ON THREE UNITED PENALTIES
Paul Pogba v Aston Villa, January 1
There was slight contact from Villa’s Douglas Luiz but Pogba tripped himself, causing the fall. I would have waved play on. I was very surprised VAR did not recommend a pitchside review
Though there was slight contact from Douglas Luiz, Paul Pogba tripped himself here
Marcus Rashford v Newcastle, October 17
Rashford anticipates contact from Jamal Lewis and is already going down when the Newcastle defender swings his leg. Rashford should have been booked for deceiving the referee
Marcus Rashford should have been booked for deceiving the referee at Newcastle
Mason Greenwood v RB Leipzig, December 8
Greenwood gets his foot across the defender while protecting the ball. The players go in shoulder to shoulder and Greenwood goes down. As there was contact, I wouldn’t have cautioned Greenwood for a dive — but it is not a penalty
Mason Greenwood did not dive against RB Leipzig, but it was not a penalty either
Notice, too, that more players are going down in what referees call the ‘dead zone’ in the penalty area, a position from which they have little chance of scoring. Rashford did it against Newcastle when he was heading out of the area and took the chance to go to ground under a loose leg from Jamal Lewis.
But this is where Klopp should be careful, because that is exactly what Sadio Mane did when going down too easily under Kyle Walker-Peters’ challenge during last Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
The ball was running out of play and, in a different position with the chance to score, I believe Mane would have ridden the challenge.
So there were a couple of things to take from Klopp’s comments after that game. First, he sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United’s players are looking to win penalties. The likes of Mo Salah and Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics.
The likes of Mohamed Salah (right) are just as capable of underhand tactics to win penalties
He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game. Klopp wasn’t doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.
He does not like losing, he never has. He gets prickly. But he is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions. There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.
I am the only referee to give three penalties to the opposition at Old Trafford, and that was for Liverpool, of all teams, in 2014.
But David Moyes was manager — I’m not sure that would have happened when Fergie was there!
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