Mark Clattenburg has accused Jurgen Klopp of an “attempt to influence referee Paul Tierney” ahead of Liverpool’s pivotal clash with Manchester United this weekend.
The former Premier League official was referring to comments made by the German in regard to United’s penalty record over the last two years.
“Jurgen Klopp must be getting worried, because his comments last week about Manchester United and penalties were straight out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s playbook,” Clattenburg told the Daily Mail (via the Express). “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.”
As great a tactician as he is, Klopp hardly strikes us as the kind of manager to pre-emptively influence referees before the game.
His point about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s recent penalty record was a fair one to make in light of the statistics at hand – it simply makes little sense that the Red Devils should have earned more spot-kicks than Liverpool, as relevant data reflects.
Regardless of what the numbers suggest, however, it will be mostly up to the Reds to make their mark on the upcoming tie on Sunday.
With the two big Manchester clubs picking up form as we head into the second-half of the season, now is the perfect time for Klopp to help mark our own resurgence with a powerful performance at Anfield.