On Saturday afternoon, when Liverpool finished winning their second match of the season against Burnley, manager Jürgen Klopp was asked about some aggressive tackles from the Burnley players that went unpunished by Mike Dean.
He spoke frankly saying, “I’m not 100% sure if [officials] are going in the right direction with these decisions. It’s like we’re going 10 to 15 years backwards. The rules are like they are, but you cannot defend these situations. That’s how it makes the game really tricky.
“The message now is let the game flow, but nobody exactly knows what that means. I like decisions that favour the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling.”
Ahead of Burnley’s trip to Newcastle to compete in the Carabao Cup, manager Sean Dyche was asked about these remarks. He responded by essentially telling us, ‘don’t trust your eyes, trust Mike Dean.’
Dyche said, “The way I look at it, you have a referee there of some 800, 900 games [Mike Dean] who didn’t book anyone. So it is quite bizarre when you look at it like that, just factually, how he could suggest there were some untoward challenges.
“My main disappointment actually is not a view of the game – I think every manager, every coach, every pundit, every fan has a view of the game. My disappointment is he is name-checking players – there is absolutely no need to do that.”
The whole thing is typical manager back and forth by two men who seem to have no love lost between them. Liverpool fans will likely get a kick out of the assumption that Mike Dean wouldn’t ever make mistakes. It added a little something extra to this tiff, like that little dash of cinnamon that really brings the whole dish together.