Soccer

Ex-ref Clattenburg hits out at "hypocrite" Klopp over Man Utd penalty comments

Former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg says "worried" Jurgen Klopp is trying to influence referee Paul Tierney before Liverpool's clash against Manchester United,

After losing at Southampton last week as the had two penalty shouts denied, Klopp claimed that United have been getting much more favourable decisions than his side when it comes to awarding penalties.

The German pointed out that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have been given more spot-kicks in the last two seasons than his team have got in his five-and-a-half years in charge.

Those figures can either be supported or not depending on which competitions you want to take into account, and while Clattenburg says the German does have a point, he has urged him to look at the penalty area actions of his own players.

"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," said Clattenburg in his column for the Mail Online.

"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?"

Since football restarted in June as last season was completed, United have been given 18 penalties in all competitions compared to Liverpool's six.

And while Clattenburg says there is something in the suggestion the Solskjaer's players go down too easily in the box, he says Liverpool have players who do the same.

"So there were a couple of things to take from Klopp's comments after that game [ the loss to Southampton ]," said Clattenburg.

"First, he sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United's players are looking to win penalties. The likes of Mo Salah and [Sadio] 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."

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