Former Referee Mark Clattenburg Accuses Jurgen Klopp Of Being A Hypocrite
Former Premier League referee has told Jurgen Klopp to stop being a hypocrite about penalties, as Liverpool host Manchester United this weekend.
Klopp wouldn't have been expecting to head into the game with his side's bitter rivals behind United but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side's win over Burnley on Tuesday took them three points above the champions.
The German turned up the pressure on the game just over a week ago when he brought up United's penalty record, after his side were denied two potential spot kicks in their loss to Southampton.
Some have suggested that it was Klopp's latest outburst this season to show he's feeling the pressure and that's what Clattenburg also feels, telling the former Borussia Dortmund boss to 'stop being a hypocrite.'
"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," the English official wrote in his Daily Mail column.
"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.
"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."
The 45-year-old, who stopped refereeing in England's top flight in 2017 having taken charge of the treble of finals in 2016 of the FA Cup, Champions League and Euros, did agree that United players have been good at winning penalties.
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"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," Clattenburg added.
"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."
However the former Saudi Arabian Football Federation head of referees accused Klopp of being a hypocrite in that regard, saying, "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.
"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."
Solskjaer didn't really reply to his rival manager when the comments were first made, instead making a cheeky reference to Rafa Benitez's infamous 'Fact' rant about the Old Trafford side.
Sunday's game between the top two is certainly set to be an interesting contest, things will get even more interesting if there's any possible penalty calls.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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