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. At least that’s the opinion of former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg, who wrote the above in his column for the Daily Mail.
“It’s no excuse for the performance. We cannot change it.”
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 5, 2021
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 and Clattenburg feels that he was being smart with those comments as they couldn’t get him into trouble with the authorities.
“I dont count how many penalties they have”
“Maybe it’s a way of influencing referees”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s has responded to Jurgen Klopp comparing United & Liverpool’s penalty records.
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) January 6, 2021
However, Clattenburg insists that talk of any conspiracy on the part of referees and officials is absurd. Klopp didn’t directly make any such claim but he was believed by many to be insinuating that there is an agenda in favour of the Red Devils.
In reaction to that element of the discussion, Clattenburg said: “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.”
MORE: Wow: Clattenburg says he and PL refs used to favour Manchester United because they feared Fergie
Clattenburg claimed that he has watched Manchester United closely this season and has analysed each of their 11 penalty awards. Consequentially, the ex-referee said that he believes contact was invited or even initiated by the United player on no fewer than five occasions with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood the players being involved.
The old whistler went on to say: “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.”
After calling out the Liverpool Manager’s hypocrisy and noting that his comments were an attempt to influence the referee ahead of the crunch derby at the weekend, Clattenburg dropped an absolute bombshell by claiming that referees used to be biased in favour Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson was the Manager due to similar comments that he made and the aura which he had!
The astonishing claim came in the closing part of his piece, when Clattenburg wrote:
“He (Klopp) 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!”