Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has responded to Jurgen Klopp’s comments about the amount of penalties awarded to Manchester United.
Klopp recently made headlines following Liverpool’s 1-0 away defeat to Southampton. His side had a penalty appeal waved away when winger Sadio Mane went down under a challenge from Kyle Walker-Peters.
After the game, the German was fuming, stating that “Man Utd had more penalties in two years than me in five and a half years.”
Clattenburg has responded to this claim, believing that the comments are mind games ahead of Sunday’s huge game between Liverpool and Man Utd at Anfield.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Clattenburg said: “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.”
The referee, who now works in China, went on to analyse the 11 penalties awarded to the Red Devils this season, claiming that as many as five were instances of their players going down easily in the box. He continued, saying that he would not have awarded the penalties that Man Utd got against Aston Villa, Newcastle United or RB Leipzig.
However, Clattenburg mentioned that Liverpool players are just as guilty of trying to win soft penalties.
“He sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United’s players are looking to win penalties,” he added. “The likes of Mo Salah and Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics.”
According to Clattenburg, Klopp’s comments are a sign that the former Borussia Dortmund manager is worried about his side’s title defence, comparing him to Man Utd legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
“He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game,” he said. “Klopp wasn’t doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.”
“I am the only referee to give three penalties to the opposition at Old Trafford, and that was for Liverpool, of all teams, in 2014. But David Moyes was manager — I’m not sure that would have happened when Fergie was there!”