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Jurgen Klopp Discusses Row with Ref in Final

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The Liverpool boss was apparently close to getting sent to the stands in the preseason match against Leicester City.

Liverpool FC v Leicester City FC: Premier League Asia Trophy
Referee Bobby Madley was fortunate to escape the exchange alive.
Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images

No one told Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp that this was preseason. At least that was how it appeared when the German waved referee Bobby Madley over to the sidelines in order to have a heated exchange over what, exactly, constituted a foul.

Now, Kloppo could be forgiven for feeling a little over-protective of wee Philippe Coutinho these days, especially with a certain Catalan Giant sniffing about, but after two questionable no-calls involving the Brazilian, Klopp could not hold back any longer.

"Even in the pre-season and even though it's a Premier League tournament, we should talk about this," Klopp said after the match. "I was not too happy about two decisions around Phil Coutinho, 100%.

"[Madley] told me that if I behave like I behaved today then I would have to go in the stands. I said: 'If I behave like today then I go in the stand, no problem. But you have to change how you whistle'.”

Fighting against the English “let ‘em play” style of refereeing? Bold strategy, Kloppo. Regardless, it is clearly an issue the Liverpool boss was passionate about. And considering the injury history of Liverpool players during his tenure, it’s hard to blame him.

"That's the only thing. For me, it was a clear foul, 100%. It's dangerous. We had a similar situation at Wigan.

"What can I do? Write a letter? 'By the way, that's a foul so next time can you whistle?'

"It's a difficult game to whistle for refs, I know all this. But these things are obvious for me and that's why I thought it would be nice if he could help the players a little bit more.

"These players make the difference and these players bring people into the stadium. That's why we have to look after them a little bit."

Klopp almost certainly has a point, particularly considering the circumstances—a meaningless preseason friendly for strictly financial and promotional benefits. Now, whether Madley (or any of the other English refs) will heed his advice in the future is yet to be seen, though my money is on Klopp being sent to the stands before that happens.