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Ken Early: Jürgen Klopp’s anger could be re-directed towards FA’s ‘let it flow’ culture



Ken Early: Jürgen Klopp’s anger could be re-directed towards FA’s ‘let it flow’ culture

At Anfield, two of the biggest underperformers of the season produced a ridiculous game in which nearly everybody made a fool of themselves. As meaningless mid-table end-of-season fixtures go, you can’t ask for much more than Liverpool and Spurs served up yesterday.

The pattern of the game — 3-0, 3-3, 4-3 — echoed that of the second, farcical 4-3 between Liverpool and Newcastle back in 1997, a match that exposed the essential unseriousness of Roy Evans’s then title-chasing Liverpool side. Maybe the sense that this match was saying something similar about the current side was why Jürgen Klopp got so angry that he gracelessly celebrated the winning goal in the face of the fourth official — pulling his hamstring in the process — then launched a personalised attack on referee Paul Tierney.

“We have our story, our history with Mr Tierney,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “I really don’t know what this man has with us. I really don’t know. You always will say there’s nothing and it’s not true, it cannot be. I have to say, it cannot be. I’m really not sure — how he looks at me, I don’t understand it. I really have no problem with any people, not with him as well. But it’s just like — again? He was ref at Tottenham when Harry Kane didn’t get a red card … it was Mr Tierney and nobody asks him about it, because in England they don’t have to clarify situations. It’s really tricky. It’s difficult to understand. My celebration towards the fourth official, I didn’t say any bad words, nothing, but it was unnecessary, I got punished for it immediately …that’s fine, fair. But what he said to me then, when he gave me the yellow card? It’s not possible. It’s not okay as well.”

Accusing a referee of having a personal agenda against your team is the kind of comment that usually results in an FA charge and touchline ban. It is a fact that Tierney was the referee at Tottenham v Liverpool in December 2021, a match that finished 2-2 after a series of controversial decisions. Harry Kane should have been sent off for a flying lunge on Andrew Robertson that Tierney deemed worthy only of a booking. Diogo Jota was denied a penalty after an obvious barge by Emerson Royal. Liverpool dropped two points that day, ended up losing the title race by one point, and Klopp can’t forget it.

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