It wasn’t pretty, but Liverpool showed the mental fortitude we’ve come to know as their signature in a come-from-behind win against Sheffield United. For the second league game in a row, VAR played a central role in the story line early in the game. This time, a challenge at the edge of the box was adjudged to be a foul and a free kick before VAR intervened to determine the challenge was just within the boundary of the box, and thus a penalty. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was again left frustrated with the referee’s decision.
“The penalty was not even a foul,” said Klopp when asked about the incident. “During a season there are so many different periods, we have had an injustice and we have had to go again.”
Klopp continued on about Fabinho’s challenge on Oliver McBurnie.
“The penalty conceded was clear it was a challenge to win the ball. We are on the wrong end of another decision, but luckily we could sort that tonight, so maybe I should not talk too much about that.”
Klopp is walking that fine line of what is ok and not to say about refereeing before getting hit with a fine. After having several controversial decisions go against Liverpool in the span of a week, he’s probably ready to take the fine to make his point. While the foul itself is borderline, and one one seen given, the consitency in decisions given is just mind boggling. It only takes a look at seeing Harry Maguire get away with WWE antics earlier in the day with no repercussions to understand why Klopp is flabbergasted with how the decisions are made. And yet again, Liverpool are left wondering whether there was a subjective error or process error by the VAR official.
As for the rest of the game, Klopp was happy with how his team responded to adversity.
“I am only interested in the mentality in our changing room and I see hunger, resilience, character to dig in and win if you are not playing at your best. We showed we can dig in and see results out.”
While Liverpool ultimately saw the game off after goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, Klopp mentioned the difficulty the team had dealing with the aerial prowess of McBurnie.
“McBurnie was very good in the air so it was hard for the lads at the back but they coped and worked it out better in the second half. We should have killed the game off with another goal or two.”
Klopp also gave some praise to his managerial compatriot, Chris Wilder, with how his Sheffield United team play.
“[Y]ou always have to work hard against Sheffield United. It’s hard to take for Chris Wilder. They never give up, I respect that so much. They go and go and go. Chris is doing a wonderful job.”