Liverpool: Klopp makes Man Utd penalty claim after loss
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been warned not to worry too much about Manchester United – else his side might take their eye off the ball in the Premier League title race. Klopp took a jab at the amount of penalties won by United in recent seasons after his side lost to Southampton.
The Reds suffered just their second defeat of the Premier League campaign to the Saints at St Mary’s with Danny Ings’ early effort enough for the hosts to claim victory.
Liverpool had two second-half penalty shouts waved away, one after Gini Wijnaldum’s shot struck the arm of Jack Stephens and another after Kyle Walker-Peters challenged Sadio Mane in the box.
Speaking post-match, Klopp was strongly critical of referee Andre Marriner and said: “I heard now that Manchester United have had more penalties in two years when Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] is there than I have in five-and-a-half years [at Liverpool].
“I have no idea if it’s my fault, I have no idea how that can happen. But it’s no excuse for the performance of tonight. That’s something we can change, and that’s where we will put all the effort in now.”
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Liverpool have had six penalties in the league this season to United’s five but have only had 30 in the 199 top-flight matches since Klopp’s arrival, compared to 27 in 75 overseen by Solskjaer at United.
But Liverpool legend John Barnes has warned Klopp against getting too concerned with his rivals, who can now go three points clear of the reigning champions if they win their game in hand against Burnley.
The Red Devils face the Clarets next Tuesday before visiting Anfield on Sunday, knowing victory in both would put them six points ahead of Klopp and co.
Speaking to BonusCodeBets.co.uk, Barnes said: “Manchester United have always had the potential to challenge for the title if you look at their players and given the quality of the squad this is where they should be.
“The fact that there has always been question marks and problems over Ole and disunity, means that it is a surprise they are doing well in the league – especially after going out in the Champions League.
“They’re currently winning matches and playing well having previously picked up points without being at their best on the pitch – which is a sign of champions.
“Whether they can continue that will always be a big question, we’ve seen Manchester United play well in patches over the last couple of years but they will then drop stupid points.
“Liverpool just need to focus on winning their matches and hope the teams around them aren’t good enough to win their matches.
“Looking at how tight it is, you can’t forget Leicester or Tottenham, all of that will put pressure on the champions-elect, whether that is City or Liverpool.
“Liverpool can’t worry about what Manchester United are doing or how good they are.
“If wanting to finish ahead of Manchester United spurs Liverpool on then they could lose focus in playing other teams, they have to take every game as it comes, whoever it is and maintain their level of consistency.
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“Manchester United being there shouldn’t put unnecessary pressure on Liverpool but if I had a choice, I would much rather it was Manchester City that won instead of United.”
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher meanwhile believes United are a significant threat to his former club in the title race, with Solskjaer’s side now unbeaten in their last 10 league games.
“Manchester United can win the Premier League this season,” ex-Liverpool defender Carragher wrote in his latest Telegraph Sport column.
“Just hearing that should be enough to gladden the hearts of their fans. The more I see them, the more convinced I am that it could happen.
“I do not believe they have radically improved, but such is their firepower they have the ability to win games without producing 90-minute performances.
“We have seen it so often this season where they have gone from dire one minute to brilliant the next, and their away form makes them dangerous.
“The biggest reason they have a chance is because the country’s two outstanding sides — Liverpool and (Manchester) City — have dropped back.
“United could be one of the major beneficiaries of this unique season because the title could be won with little more than 80 points.
“United are among those who could hit that mark, especially if they remedy their poor results at Old Trafford.”
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