‘I got used to it’ – Referee admits that he ‘liked’ former Liverpool player’s ‘trash talk’

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A prominent referee has named the ex-Liverpool player who’d regularly ‘trash talk’ during matches and could be something of a ‘troublemaker’.

Now a UEFA ambassador, Dr Felix Brych has been a regular presence in top European matches over the years, taking charge of the Reds eight times in the Champions League across a 13-year period.

The 48-year-old recently spoke to talkSPORT when he named a former LFC captain who he had to ‘keep an eye on’ whenever he was involved.

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The German said: “I got along with all the players very well, but in every game there was always my troublemaker. Looking back on many games at Anfield with Liverpool, when I saw Jordan Henderson, I knew I had to keep an eye on him.

“He was talking all throughout the game. Also, James Milner. Sometimes he was quiet, sometimes he was talking a lot and like you do, you talk in a different way. In Germany, talking is much more aggressive. In England you talk in a different way, I knew that before the game.”

When asked what Henderson would say to him on the pitch, Brych replied: “’Come on, it’s not a foul; you can do it in Germany, but in England we want to let the game flow.’ It was always this kind of trash talk, but I liked it and I got used to it. It was fun and games.”

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It doesn’t come as any great surprise to us that Brych has named Henderson as one of the most vocal players he’s ever officiated.

During the lockdown period a few years ago when fans were prohibited from attending matches, the midfielder’s voice would boom around empty stadia, with the 33-year-old consistently barking instructions to teammates from first whistle to last.

When players are excessively opinionated and harange referees, that becomes a problem as it shows a complete lack of respect.

From Brych’s testimony, though, it seems as if he was mostly unperturbed by Henderson’s back-and-forth with him during games. In the same interview with talkSPORT, it was notable how he referred to Jose Mourinho as ‘tricky’ to officiate, with no words of mitigation for the now Fenerbahce manager.

On the topic of players’ interaction with referees, it should be very interesting to see whether a directive permitting only captains to speak with officials on the pitch (with any other players to be booked if they approach the ref) will have a transformative effect going forward.

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