The 2021/22 Premier League season may only be a couple of match days old, but that hasn’t stopped the first controversy of the season from rearing its ugly head.
The match between Liverpool and Burnley seemed to be most notable for Jurgen Klopp’s post-match comments concerning the Clarets notably physical challenges.
Whether it was designed to put pressure on the man in the middle for the Reds’ next match against Chelsea, or just to wind up his opposite number, Sean Dyche, isn’t clear.
One thing is certain, however, and that’s that Dyche won’t take the criticism of his players lying down, and has hit back. Hard.
“Every manager has the right to have their say, he’s certainly had his,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
“My disappointment is he’s name-checking players. There’s absolutely no need to do that.
“We’ve got professional players who have worked very hard to get to where they have got.
“The implications of what he said about challenges are wrong. I think it’s inappropriate and it’s not something I would do myself.
“My worry is he’s questioned that teams shouldn’t do everything within the rules to win the game, which we clearly did because there wasn’t a single card given out.”
It appears that, just as Sir Alex Ferguson did with Kevin Keegan a quarter of a century ago, the mind games that go on between managers are just as much a part of gaining an advantage as winning the on-pitch battle.