Jurgen Klopp stoked the fire ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Anfield next weekend by comparing penalty records after Liverpool were denied two spot-kicks in Monday’s defeat at Southampton.
Danny Ings’ stunning second-minute strike against his former club ended Liverpool’s 12-game unbeaten run in the Premier League as the champions’ winless run stretched to three games.
Klopp was aggrieved his side were not awarded either of their two second-half penalty appeals, with a Kyle Walker-Peters challenge on Sadio Mane and Jack Stephens’ handball while blocking a Georginio Wijnaldum shot going unpunished by referee Andre Marriner.
Liverpool remain top ahead of Manchester United on goal difference despite suffering a second league defeat of the season, but the champions could be replaced as outright Premier League leaders by the time they welcome their rivals to Anfield on January 17 – live on Sky Sports – if United avoid defeat in their game in hand against Burnley.
And it would appear the mind games have already begun ahead of the mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash, with Klopp questioning officiating over recent seasons, saying United “had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years”.
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“If anybody ever again will say Sadio Mane is a ‘diver’, it’s the biggest joke in the world,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “This boy tries to stay on his feet with all he has. In two situations… other teams will get a penalty for it, let me say it like this. Then the handball, I don’t know who will explain that to me.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp added: “We had a really good view of it [the Mane incident], and it looked like a clear penalty. I turned around to the fourth official and asked if it was going to be checked, he said it already had been and was not a penalty. That’s 100 per cent true, and now someone wants to tell me how quick they had it in all these different angles.
“Last year, there was a penalty against Leicester when people said Sadio Mane goes down too easily – if he goes down easily, we would have had a penalty in this game and the last game, a stonewall penalty, but what Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane I’m not sure if that’s okay.