Jurgen Klopp sees red over referee's calls

Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita goes down in the area after a challenge from Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira (left) but referee Martin Atkinson refuses to give a penalty which frustrates Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita goes down in the area after a challenge from Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira (left) but referee Martin Atkinson refuses to give a penalty which frustrates Jurgen Klopp.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He rues Maguire's let-off, penalty denial as Foxes foil Reds' bid to capitalise on City slip

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp claimed Liverpool were refused a clear penalty and Harry Maguire should not have been on the pitch to deny the Premier League leaders a seven-point advantage in the title race as Leicester secured a surprise 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Reds extended their lead over Manchester City to five points (61 in total), but missed the opportunity to capitalise fully on the English champions' loss at Newcastle on Tuesday as they failed to beat a team outside the top six for the first time this term.

Sadio Mane gave the hosts the lead in the third minute - their fastest league goal in nearly three years - after a sensational 30-pass move, only for Maguire to cancel out his strike in first-half stoppage time.

However, Klopp felt the Foxes were lucky not to have been reduced to 10 men prior to Maguire's equaliser, claiming the defender should have seen red for denying Mane a clear goal-scoring opportunity. He was instead yellow-carded.

Referee Martin Atkinson's refusal to penalise Ricardo Pereira for clipping Naby Keita inside the box after the break added to Klopp's frustration although, given the chances Leicester squandered, he accepted the draw.

The Liverpool manager said: "Everybody agrees there could have been a penalty. I don't know why it wasn't a penalty. Have I spoken to the referee about it? No. I don't think it will change anything.

"I don't think you need a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for that (Keita decision) because of the position of the ref on the pitch.

"But he doesn't want to give it and I don't think VAR would have told him to look at it again."

He then turned his complaints to Maguire.

  • 1st

  • For the first time this season, Liverpool have failed to beat a team outside the top six.

"I would say it is a 100 per cent… a situation where there is a goal-scoring chance that tells the ref he has to give a red card," he said.

"Because not only is Sadio through, but I am also pretty sure Mo (Salah) was on the other side, which gives you two against one, against (Kasper) Schmeichel."

To compound the German's unhappiness, the snowfall on Merseyside resulted in a "difficult pitch" which stymied their usual free-flowing attack.

He added: "We needed to speed it up in the final third, (but) our counter-attacks in the opening moments were defended more by the pitch than our opponents.

"Today, when it started snowing during the warm-up, it was all okay but, when we came out, snow was on the pitch.

"The ball didn't roll really and, if you have the ball pretty much for 70-80 per cent of the time, then it makes life really uncomfortable."

Liverpool looked nervous and susceptible at the back at times and captain Jordan Henderson admitted to BT Sport that "it wasn't our best performance".

"We are disappointed with the result because we wanted the win, but Leicester are a good side," he said. "We'll take the point and move on to the next game."

Leicester manager Claude Puel had insisted before kick-off that his side would, as they had done before, raise their game against a leading club. And the Frenchman was vindicated by a battling display that left his team 11th in the table.

"Of course I am proud of my players," he said. "It was another difficult start to the game. We conceded after two minutes, but we didn't lose our structure. "At the end, we had more chances and it could have been better."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'Klopp sees red over ref's calls'. Print Edition | Subscribe