Jurgen Klopp Could Be In Trouble With FA After Paul Tierney Comments
Liverpool still believes they can make the top four, but if manager Jurgen Klopp’s remarks regarding referee Paul Tierney come back to haunt them, their late push for Champions League participation might be thwarted.
Jurgen Klopp said he did not know what the official “has against us” following the thrilling 4-3 victory over Tottenham, in which the Reds required a goal in stoppage time from Diogo Jota to extend a four-match winning streak after blowing a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.
The overly enthusiastic celebration of Klopp in front of fourth official John Brooks earned him a booking, but he criticized Tierney’s demeanor, saying: “What he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”
Quick to respond, The Professional Game Match Officials Limited issued a statement that read: “PGMOL is aware of the statements made by Jurgen Klopp following his team’s matchup with Tottenham Hotspur.
“Match officials in the Premier League are recorded in all games via a communications system and having fully reviewed the audio of referee Paul Tierney from today’s fixture, we can confirm he acted in a professional manner throughout including when issuing the caution to the Liverpool manager so, therefore, we strongly refute any suggestion that Tierney’s actions were improper.”
However, Jurgen Klopp’s allegation of bias is what is most likely to get him into trouble with the Football Association and could result in a touchline suspension for Liverpool’s final few games.
He had previously received a warning for his behavior following a one-match suspension and a £30,000 fine following the FA’s successful appeal of the severity of his penalty for abusing an assistant referee during the home victory over Manchester City in October.
Liverpool’s momentum and slim chances of catching fourth-placed Manchester United, who are currently ahead by seven points with a game remaining, could be destroyed if Klopp is not on the sidelines for any or all of their remaining games against Fulham, Brentford, Leicester, Aston Villa, and Southampton.
Liverpool came dangerously close to losing against Spurs despite coasting into a three-goal lead thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Curtis Jones, and Luis Diaz.
Just before halftime, Harry Kane tied Wayne Rooney’s Premier League record of 208 goals, moving him into second place on the all-time list behind only Alan Shearer (260). When Son Heung-min’s 77th-minute goal was followed by Richarlison’s first league goal in stoppage time, Spurs appeared to have escaped with a rare draw.
However, Jota scored his fifth goal in four games just 99 seconds later to spark wild celebrations that some might argue were excessive in Klopp’s case and preserve Liverpool’s slim chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Sometimes we don’t half make it hard for ourselves,” said midfielder Harvey Elliott, back in the side after almost a month.
“We started the game unbelievably well, got three goals in quick succession, and personally I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit and allowed them to play a bit more football while not playing football ourselves.
“It’s a tough one to explain. It’s not a lack of concentration. Maybe because going 3-0 up early hardly ever happens so the way we deal with it is new to us.
“It’s always a hard situation because emotions are high, performing well and then we just decide to switch and didn’t do our game-plan.
“We decided to keep the ball and I felt it was just a bit slow in the way we moved it around and that caused ourselves problems. That’s something we need to snap out of.”
Ryan Mason, two matches into another spell as interim head coach following the sacking of Cristian Stellini after the 6-1 embarrassment at Newcastle, was less interested in Tottenham’s top-four chances now they had dropped to sixth than he was of repairing some of the recent damage.
“My priority is to get some togetherness, create some good feelings and energy around the place and bring our fans with us,” he said.
“The only way to do that is winning matches so it’s difficult to take. We’re just devastated in the way we lost the game.”