Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has taken aim at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp by calling him a ‘hypocrite’ as the German prepares to welcome Premier League leaders Manchester United to Anfield this weekend.
The former Premier League referee wrote a column for the Daily Mail and called out Klopp for playing mind games by publicly announcing his belief that Manchester United get favoured treatment from match officials.
Clattenburg says it was a blatant attempt to try and influence referee Paul Tierney — who will be the referee at Anfield on Sunday when United take on the reigning champions.
“Jurgen Klopp must be getting worried, because his comments last week about Manchester United and penalties were straight out of the Sir Alex Ferguson playbook,” the former Premier League referee wrote.
“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 twi years than Liverpool have in his five and a half [years] at Anfield. He was smart, because his comments could not get him into trouble with the authorities.”
Clattenburg is spot on — because Klopp didn’t make it crystal clear whether he was saying there’s a conspiracy on the part of referees and officials or was he suggesting United players have been encouraged to pull the wool over match official’s eyes?
United have had 11 penalties this season and, as someone who watches the team very closely every week, it’s pretty obvious to see how our altering style of play from the José Mourinho days is benefiting us in terms of receiving more penalties.
It’s counter-attacking football but with attacking players who are encouraged to run at defenders — like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. It’s also very different to the days of Louis van Gaal when United’s build-up play would put an insomniac to sleep.
“So there were a couple of things to take from Klopp’s comments after the game,” Clattenburg added, referring to Liverpool’s defeat against Southampton in the league. “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.
“He 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.”
What do you make of Clattenburg’s comments on Ferguson?
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM!
Read more: Odion Ighalo sounds out MLS move